Superintendent Robert Tomback will recommend a $15.1 million increase in the Harford County Public Schools operating budget for next year, including a $6.3 million increase for employee salaries, according to the board of education’s published meeting agenda for December 17th. The packed agenda also includes a new agreement on principal and teacher evaluations; a presentation on working conditions from the president of the teachers’ union; proposed revisions to the capital budget involving Youth’s Benefit Elementary and Joppatowne High schools, and a report on school capacity and student enrollment.
The December 17th meeting will also be the first for new board member Arthur Kaff, who will be sworn in earlier in the day.
Superintendent Robert Tomback will recommend an unrestricted operating budget totaling $442,872,460 for the fiscal year 2014, an increase of $15.1 million over the current fiscal year. The increase is comprised of $6.3 million for salaries, $6.6 million for employee benefits and a $2.2 million increase in cost of doing business, according to the published meeting agenda.
Due to an anticipated $3 million decline in revenue from other sources, the operating budget request to Harford County government will increase by total of $18 million over the current fiscal year. The $18 million includes a $1.5 million increase in the teacher pension expense, which is gradually being shifted from the state to local governments. Public schools in Maryland are funded primarily by a combination of state and local funding.
Superintendent Tomback will also recommend a restricted fund budget of $26,585,762 for next year, and a food service fund of $15,690,406.
The unrestricted operating budget includes $6.3 million to fund salary increases that are intended to “avoid falling further behind”, according to the prepared budget presentation. School employees have gone without raises in three of the past four years.
Last year, employees received a negotiated a 1% cost of living increase, plus one scheduled “step” increase and a longevity increment for those who were eligible, at a total cost of $10 million. If approved and funded, the $6.3 million increase requested for salaries next year will again be subject to negotiations with the five bargaining units representing HCPS employees.
School board members will vote on Tomback’s budget recommendation for the fiscal year 2014 following a series of public input sessions planned in early to mid-January.
Also on the December 17th meeting agenda, a new agreement on principal and teacher evaluations will be signed with the Harford County Education Association, the union representing teachers. Ryan Burbey, president of the union, said last week that the agreement does not tie teachers’ pay to student performance, but it does link 50% of their employment evaluations to student growth. Burbey said that the link is required for school systems that signed on to the federal “Race to the Top” grant program. Student growth will be measured by state tests and other assessments, Burbey said. The agreement will be signed during the superintendent’s report, which will also include a presentation on a “school progress index.”
In a related agenda item, Burbey will make a presentation to the school board entitled “HCPS Working Conditions and Economic Comparisons.”
A revised capital budget for next year will be presented to the school board, including changes already made by HCPS staff, under the direction of Superintendent Tomback, to the state funding requests for Youth’s Benefit Elementary and Joppatowne High School.
The revised budget eliminates a $6.6 million request in the fiscal year 2014 for a planned Youth’s Benefit Elementary replacement building. When last approved by the school board in September, the capital budget included a request to the state for planning approval and $6.6 million in construction funding to begin the project, plus a $1 million request to the county for necessary updates to the pre-construction documents.
However, in a November 21st letter leading up to a December 4th appeal hearing before the state Interagency Committee on School Construction, HCPS removed the $6.6 million request, and instead requested only planning approval, delaying the start of construction funding to the fiscal year 2015 budget request. The revised capital budget for next year still includes the $1 million request for county funds.
The other major revision to the proposed capital budget involves an additional $3.6 million in combined state and local money for planned renovations to Joppatowne High School. The increase brings the total request for the Joppatowne renovations to $13.7 million.
Although they were included in the appeal to the state, the budget changes involving Youth’s Benefit Elementary and Joppatowne High were not approved in advance by a vote of the school board.
The capital budget request now proposed by Superintendent Tomback for the fiscal year 2014 totals approximately $60 million. The exact dollar amount is unclear due to a discrepancy between the totals in the revised budget chart ($60,156,227) and the text of the superintendent’s recommendation ($58,671,452).
Also on the December 17th meeting agenda, a report will be presented on school capacity and student enrollment in 2012, along with yearly projections out to the year 2019. The presentation will be made by Joe Licata, HCPS chief of administration, and Cornell Brown, assistant superintendent for operations.
During a period of recognitions, Joppatowne High School twelfth grader Natasha Ash, will be commended for her artwork, which graces the 2012 HCPS holiday card.
Student athletes will be also be recognized at the meeting, for achievement and sportsmanship during the 2012 fall season.
Scheduled for approval on the consent agenda is the monthly report on personnel who have left the system, are newly employed, or are on leaves of absence. Resolutions will also be approved for African-American History Month, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Maryland Reading Month, and National Mentoring Month.
The December 17th meeting of the Harford County Board of Education is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. in the boardroom at the A.A. Roberty Building in Bel Air. The public comment period is scheduled for 6:55 p.m. The published meeting agenda appears below. Please note that published agendas are subject to change.
Monday, December 17, 2012
Board Open Session – 5:40 PM – Board Room
Board Closed Session – 5:45 PM – Board Executive Conference Room
Board Business Meeting – 6:30 PM – Board Room
*Times are approximate
Call to Order – Mr. Francis F. Grambo, III, Board President
Quorum Roll Call
Adoption of Agenda
Pledge of Allegiance
6:35 PM Recognitions: (Goal 2)
– 2012 HCPS 2012 Board of Education Holiday Card
– 2012 State/Region Interscholastic Athletic Sportsmanship Awards
6:55 PM Public Comment
7:05 PM Introductions
7:10 PM Board Committee Reports and Comments
7:20 PM Superintendent’s Report:
– Harford County Education Association Signing Ceremony – Principal and Teacher Evaluation Process
– Presentation on School Progress Index
7:50 PM Harford County Education Association, Mr. Ryan Burbey, President
– Presentation on HCPS Working Conditions and Economic Comparisons
8:10 PM A. Consent Agenda:
1) Monthly Personnel Report (Goal 3)
2) Minutes of Previous Board Meeting: December 3, 2012 (Goal 1-4)
3) Resolutions (Goal 2)
– African-American History Month and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
– Maryland Reading Month
– January National Mentoring Month
8:15 PM B. Presentation on 2012 Enrollment and Projections, Mr. Joseph P. Licata, Mr. Cornell S. Brown (Goals 1 – 4)
– Informational Report
– PowerPoint Presentation
– 2012-2019 Capacity, Enrollment and Projections
8:35 PM C. Presentation on Superintendent’s Recommended Operating FY14 Budget, Mr. James M. Jewell (Goals 1-4)
8:55 PM Future Meetings Review