Harford County Board of Education Nov. 19: Dire Warnings about Education Funding; Approval of Legislative Platform; Promotions and Appointments

At a school board meeting planned for November 19th, the Harford County Board of Education will receive dire warnings about the outlook for education funding, and be asked to approve a legislative platform for the 2013 Maryland General Assembly session. Also on the November 19th meeting agenda, Superintendent Robert Tomback will recommend appointments and promotions for board approval.

Each year, the school board approves a legislative platform that is intended to inform state lawmakers and others of the board’s legislative priorities. As in years past, the 2013 Legislative Platform supports public funding and local control of education, and opposes unfunded mandates and public money for private schools. Charter schools are supported under the control of local school boards and with accountability for compliance with the laws governing public schools.

The introduction to the proposed 2013 Legislative Platform also contains dire warnings about the outlook for Maryland public school funding in the next fiscal year and beyond:

“…Although there are signs of improvements in both the national and Maryland economic climate, it is widely anticipated that a significant portion of the 2013 [Maryland General Assembly] Session will again involve the critical need to address another challenging budget year. The economic downturn has continued to adversely affect tax revenues for all levels of government, resulting in the potential for less funding for public education activities and for local government aid to Maryland’s counties. Initial estimates indicated that the General Assembly will need to address a $638 million structural deficit for the fiscal 2014 as indicated by the Spending Affordability Briefing (October 17, 2012)…”

Regarding the federal outlook, the introduction to this year’s Legislative Platform continues:

“Also, putting pressure on the State’s budget is the fiscal cliff which will be reached if Congress and the President can’t strike a deal by January 1, 2013 to avert a series of budget cuts [put] in place by lawmakers and the Obama administration last year to resolve a standoff over the nation’s debt ceiling that threated to put the nation into default. Through a process known as sequestration, automatic reductions would take effect – cutting both military and domestic spending. It is projected that Maryland would lose $117.6 million in Federal Funds if sequestration takes effect according to the Maryland Department of Legislative Services (DLS). The economic impact would be much greater. DLS warns that if the scenario known as going over the fiscal cliff plays out, Maryland could lose 53,000 jobs during the budget year ending June 30 and 60,200 more next year. Therefore, the Spending Affordability Committee and Maryland lawmakers on October 17 expressed concern that the federal problems could throw the state’s plans into reverse at a time when the state economy seems to be improving and Maryland is coming close to closing a longer-term revenue shortfall…”

According to the November 19th meeting agenda, the 2013 Legislative Platform will be presented to the board as an action item by Kathy Carmello, HCPS facilitator of governmental relations. Superintendent Robert Tomback will recommend board approval of the platform as presented.

In a related agenda item, school board members will receive a “Presentation on Budget Awareness”. The presentation will be made by senior staff members Joe Licata (chief of administration), Jim Jewell (assistant superintendent for business services) and Teri Kranefeld (manager of communications). No further information on this presentation was published along with the meeting agenda.

In other new business, board members will be asked to approve appointments and promotions to be recommended at the meeting by Superintendent Tomback. This agenda item will be presented by Jean Mantegna, director of human resources.

Music teacher C. Scott Sharnetzka will be inducted into the HCPS Educator Hall of Fame. Before he retired in 2003, Sharnetzka was an award-winning educator at C. Milton Wright High School, where he was the band director and music department chair.

Ring Factory Elementary School teacher Richard Wilhelm will be recognized as an emerging leader in the field of physical education. Wilhelm is one of 18 state winners of the 2012-13 Maryland Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MAHPERD) Emerging Leaders Award.

In a related recognition, three Harford County educators will be honored for winning the 2012-2013 Simon McNeely Award at the MAHPERD conference held in October. The winners are Jessica Harcarik of Magnolia Middle School, Jeffrey Gilbert of Red Pump Elementary School and Mark Zvitkovitz of Fallston Middle School.

On the consent agenda, board members will approve the October report on personnel who have left the school system; been placed on leaves of absence; or are newly employed. The report includes a notice of the death of Ms. Susanne L. Brown, English teacher at Southampton Middle School.

Also on the consent agenda, resolutions will be adopted in recognition of School Psychology Week, Inclusive Schools Week, International Education Month and retiring employees.

A financial report for the first quarter ending September 30, 2012 will be presented by Jim Jewell, assistant superintendent for business services. Revenue and expenditures for the quarter were “within expectations” according to the published financial report.

As usual, the meeting will conclude with a report by Superintendent Tomback.

The November 19th meeting of the Harford County Board of Education will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the boardroom at the A.A. Roberty Building in Bel Air. A public comment period is set for 6:45 p.m. The published meeting agenda appears below. Please note that published agendas are subject to change.

Monday, November 19, 2012
Board Closed Session – 5:30 PM – Board Executive Conference Room
Board Business Meeting – 6:30 PM – Board Room

*Times are approximate

6:30 PM
Call to Order – Mr. Francis F. Grambo, III, Board President
Quorum Roll Call
Adoption of Agenda
Pledge of Allegiance
6:35 PM Recognitions:

Hall of Fame: Mr. C. Scott Sharnetzka

Emerging Leader Award: Mr. Richard Wilhelm, Ring Factory Elementary School

Simon McNeely Award: Ms. Jessica Harcarik, Magnolia Middle, Mr. Jeffrey Gilbert, Red Pump Elementary, Mr. Mark Zvitkovitz, Fallston Middle

6:45 PM Public Comment

6:55 PM Introductions

7:00 PM Board Committee Reports and Comments

7:10 PM
Presentation on Budget Awareness, Joseph P. Licata, James M. Jewell, Teri Kranefeld

Old Business
Action Item(s):
7:40 PM A. Consent Agenda:

1) Monthly Report on Personnel (Goal 3)

2) Minutes of Previous Board Meeting: November 5, 2012 (Goals 1 – 4)

3) Resolutions: (Goal 2)

– School Psychology Week

– Inclusive Schools Week

– International Education Month

– Retiring Employees

New Business
Action Item(s):
7:45 PM B. Decision on Promotions and Appointments, Jean A. Mantegna (Goal 3)

7:50 PM C. Decision on 2013 Legislative Platform, Kathryn M. Carmello (Goals 1 – 4)

8:05 PM D. Presentation on Financial Report for Period Ending September 30, 2012, James M. Jewell (Goal 4)

8:20 PM E. Superintendent’s Report

8:30 PM Future Meetings Review


  1. Dale Neeper says

    Thanks, Cindy. Your report makes it possible for citizens to keep up with the Board of Education without having to attend the actual meetings. That is a true public service.

    • wow! says

      What I still do not understand is why this economic impact “supposedly” hits HCPS much worse than nearby counties? Baltimore county, Montgomery County, Howard county, hell, even the city, have not had to cut funding in the ways that HCPS has had to…maybe HCPS needs to follow the city’s lead and begin cutting from the top, especially since we never see those fools in our schools anyway! I wonder if “money skimming” is happening at the top just like it happened at Patterson Mill. Tomback does seem shady like that!

      • TRUTH says

        Your are my hero. I could not have said it better. I guess teachers better start working to rule NOW because this is going to be the beginning of NO RAISE for next year.

      • Taxpayer says

        If you are going to make accusations like that in a public forum, at least have the decency to provide proof. Otherwise, you are merely anonymously slandering someone and your post should be removed by the moderator.

        • Shepherd says


          The post does not make specific accusations against any one, particular person, rather the top heavy umbrella we know as the HCPS administration. further, Tombeck and Co. are not privatized industry leaders, they are public puppets working for the government, and are therefor subject to scrutiny. Tombeck is to shady as Taxpayer is to obtuse. Where is the slander their?

    • Taxpayer says

      “I wonder if “money skimming” is happening at the top just like it happened at Patterson Mill. Tomback does seem shady like that!”

      That one.

  2. Taxpayer too says

    What bothers me taxpayer is that you are more concerned with the possibility of slander than what is happening to your tax dollars.

  3. Wow! says

    Take a look at the budget items line by line…


    Notice the amount that was cut from schools and teachers and then look all the way down at the itty bitty bottom to see how much was cut from Central office. Now, please remember that many of these Central Office supervisors are making 6 figures. Let’s not forget how Tomback went to China during this “economic downturn.” He also drives an SUV (paid for by the county) in which all gas and car related expenses are paid for by the county during this “economic downtown.”

    Another point to note…many of his “good ole boys” were brought with him from Baltimore County. It is pretty sad when Harford County takes Baltimore County’s trash. If you don’t believe me, search Bill Lawrence, Baltimore County. He was demoted in Baltimore County and yet we pay him well over six figures. In addition, I have sat in the Central Office waiting area and watched with my own eyes these administrators take 1-2 hour lunches, all on your tax dollars, while most teachers are lucky to get 20 minutes.

    Now ask me how many times I have seen any of these administrators in our buildings to observe the teachers and students in action before making major decisions that impact our daily lives. Finally, let’s recap what happened at Patterson Mill in which thousands of dollars went missing and yet the principal is still there…hmmm….what sort of message does that send?