With his employment contract set to expire in June, Superintendent Robert M. Tomback has until Feb. 1 to notify the Harford County Board of Education whether he is a candidate for reappointment to another four-year term.
With the deadline a week away, The Dagger inquired about Tomback’s plans but was instead directed through his spokesperson to file a Maryland Public Information Act request, which was submitted to HCPS late Wednesday afternoon. When requested documents are available and open to inspection, Maryland law requires a prompt response:
“Under SG §10-614(b)(2), if a record is found to be responsive to a request and is recognized to be open to inspection, it must be produced “immediately” after receipt of the written request. An additional reasonable period “not to exceed 30 days” is available only where the additional period of time is required to retrieve the records and assess their status under the [Public Information Act]. A custodian should not wait the full 30 days to allow or deny access to a record if that amount of time is not needed to respond. If access is to be granted, the record should be produced for inspection and copying promptly after the written request is evaluated.”
While the public awaits word from Tomback, the members of the school board will soon face what is arguably their most important decision yet. Most current school board members were not in office when Tomback was hired in 2009, following the sudden death of longtime superintendent Jacqueline Haas; Board Member Alysson Krchnavy is the lone exception.
Should Tomback seek reappointment in the next week, the school board must by law take final action on his reappointment no later than March 1, in a public vote. If Tomback bows out or if he is not reappointed by the board, the board must then appoint a new superintendent sometime between Feb. 1 and June 30.
According to the Education Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, the county superintendent is responsible for carrying out state and local board policies and ensuring compliance with education law. In addition, the superintendent is responsible for instructional leadership, initiating the annual budget request, and making recommendations regarding school facilities.
Less formally, the county superintendent embodies the local school system, setting the tone for employee morale and public perception, and cultivating relationships with community leaders and the government officials who make funding and other decisions affecting the public schools.
Whether there will be a callback for Tomback, or new leadership for HCPS, time will soon tell.
Below is a provision from Maryland law covering the appointment process for local school superintendents.
Please check back with The Dagger for updates to this developing story.