On the February 25th meeting agenda for the Harford County Board of Education are a set of proposed policy revisions that expand advertising in schools; allow school facilities to be named after financial donors, and allow memorials on school grounds. The policy revisions presented Monday will be reviewed by the Board for potential action at a future meeting.
Also on the February 25th agenda, the Board will hear an update on legislative activity in the 2013 Maryland General Assembly, and induct science educator Dennis Kirkwood into the HCPS Educator Hall of Fame. Also planned is a Board vote on promotions and appointments to be announced at the meeting as recommended by Superintendent Robert Tomback.
Proposed Policy Revisions
Under the revised advertising policy, ads that defray the cost of school construction or any school function or activity will be newly allowed, subject to approval by designated administrators. Advertising is defined in the policy as a written or voice communication in any format that promotes or encourages the sale or use of an item or service, or that recognizes a private person or entity for a financial or in-kind contribution to HCPS. The current policy prohibits advertising in schools except in limited circumstances, such as ads that defray the cost of school-sponsored publications. Under the revised advertising policy, as in the current policy, advertising that conflicts with the educational mission of HCPS is prohibited.
The proposed policy entitled “Naming of Public School Buildings or Facilities or Parts/Areas Thereof” expands existing policy to allow portions of school facilities to be named after a person, and expands the criteria for all naming decisions to include financial contributions made by the person to the school system. Under the proposal, the parts of school facilities that could be named after a person living or dead include walls, hallways, rooms, athletic fields, fences, trees, bushes and lawns. As under the existing policy, final authority for all naming decisions rests with the School Board.
Memorials on school grounds, currently prohibited, would be allowed under a revised policy that also limits such memorials to a picture or photograph not to exceed 3 ft. by 2 ft.; a tree or shrub; and/or a plaque or inscription. Memorials would be subject to final approval by the School Board.
All of the above policy revisions were considered by an in-house work group consisting of senior administrators and approved by the Board Policy Review committee in January. Superintendent Robert Tomback will recommend Board consideration of the revisions for a potential vote at a future meeting.
School board members will get an update on the 2013 Maryland General Assembly session from Kathy Carmello, HCPS facilitator of governmental relations. According to the published update, under the state operating budget proposed by Gov. Martin O’Malley, HCPS would gain $589,405 in additional revenue for fiscal year 2014 thanks to a change in the timetable for collecting net taxable income data from the counties. When fully phased in, the proposed change could increase revenue to Harford County by more than $2.9 million in fiscal year 2018, according to the update.
Ms. Carmello will also ask board members to take a position on several bills covering topics not included in the school board’s previously approved 2013 Legislative Platform.
In the wake of recent school shootings, several of the bills requiring a Board position are focused on school safety.
Emergency Bill HB 165, with several co-sponsors from the Harford County Delegation, would mandate a school resource officer (law enforcement officer), in every school by next year. In HCPS, each high school is currently assigned a school resource officer who also serves the feeder middle and elementary schools. Superintendent Tomback will recommend that the School Board oppose this bill, in part because the expense would reduce available state funding for education.
Tasers would be authorized for use in schools under HB 394, which calls for “safety officers” to use such electronic control devices within standards to be set by state law enforcement agencies and the state education department. The bill defines a school “safety officer” to include a school principal, administrator, law enforcement officer, teacher, or counselor. Superintendent Tomback will recommend that the Board oppose this bill, which according to Ms. Carmello’s published report, “does not make sense for HCPS nor probably any other jurisdiction in the state.”
Among the thousands of legislative measures under consideration by the General Assembly this year, several bills are also highlighted for informational purposes in the published legislative update.
Closing loopholes in the law against sexual contact between a minor and a “person in a position of authority” at the school where the minor is enrolled, HB 14 and SB 105 would expand the law to include coaches and part time school employees. The loophole was partly responsible for charges being dropped in 2012 against a coach in Montgomery County Public Schools who was accused of having sex with a 16-year-old student. According to a legislative analysis by the Department of Legislative Services, there is no general prohibition against consensual sex with a person aged 16 years or older under current law, except under specified circumstances.
SB 290 would increase the cost of HCPS school construction projects, according to the legislative update, by expanding the statewide applicability of Prevailing Wage Law to projects that are 25% funded by the state. The current threshold is 50% for prevailing wage to apply to public works projects, including school construction.
Requiring non-union public school employees to pay a union fee for contract negotiation services, HB 667/SB 422 would apply to both certificated and non-certificated employees in HCPS, according to the update.
For students with disabilities, HB 1286/SB 691 would shift the burden of proof away from parents and onto the school system in due process hearings arising from disputes over special education services.
Other Board Business
Also on the February 25th meeting agenda, several recognitions are planned.
In honor of his 33-year career as a teacher and administrator, Dennis Kirkwood will be inducted into the HCPS Educator Hall of Fame. Dr. Kirkwood taught in Aberdeen, Fallston and at the Harford Glen Environmental Education Center, later becoming the school system’s supervisor of science until his retirement in 2008. Kirkwood also launched the Envirothon program in HCPS and served on the committee that established the Math and Science Academy at Aberdeen High School.
Two recognitions are planned in the area of gifted and talented education. Hickory Elementary has qualified as a Maryland Excellence in Gifted and Talented Education (EGATE) school. In addition, former Hickory Elementary School teacher Jessica Hoover, since promoted to assistant principal at Fountain Green Elementary School, was named a Maryland Outstanding Educator in Gifted and Talented Education– Teacher as Leader.
Fourteen Harford County teachers will be recognized for meeting the rigorous standards of national board certification in 2012. They are:
STEPHANIE GUZMAN, MAGNOLIA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
JAYME HILL, HARFORD TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL
SUSAN HOY, EDGEWOOD HIGH SCHOOL
ALISA JANISKI, PROSPECT MILL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
DIANA LIBERTO, ABERDEEN HIGH SCHOOL
CATHERINE MAIRS, FALLSTON HIGH SCHOOL
BRETT PARKER, C. MILTON WRIGHT HIGH SCHOOL
CHRISTINA POETZL, HAVRE DE GRACE HIGH SCHOOL
JACLYN REAMY, ABERDEEN HIGH SCHOOL
LAURA SHORTER, SOUTHAMPTON MIDDLE SCHOOL
JUSTINE TEIGUE, SOUTHAMPTON MIDDLE SCHOOL
BRIDGETT VICKERY, MAGNOLIA MIDDLE SCHOOL
JACQUELINE WILLIAMS, NORTH HARFORD HIGH SCHOOL
EMILY ZORBACH, BEL AIR HIGH SCHOOL
As part of the consent agenda, school board members will approve a $125,000 project proposed by the Harford County Department of Public Works to construct bioretention and rain garden facilities at Norrisville Elementary School. Harford County government will pay for the project, which is designed to meet storm water management requirements at the school site. Norrisville Elementary students have been involved in the project planning and are expected to participate in the planting of materials at the school.
Also on the consent agenda, Board members will approve a $16,188.75 grant-funded project to plant 200 trees at Patterson Mill Middle/High School. Students at the school will participate in the plantings, which will expand an existing riparian (stream bank) area buffer, further minimizing nutrient and sediment runoff into Bynum Run.
Board members will hear a report on student satisfaction surveys that were administered to all students in grades K – 11 in April 2012, along with a report on parent satisfaction surveys that were made available to parents in January 2013. A total of 3,109 parent surveys were completed electronically or in paper format, according to HCPS.
As usual, the meeting will conclude with a report from Superintendent Tomback.
The February 25th school board meeting 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 6:55 p.m. The published meeting agenda appears below. Please note that published agendas are subject to change.
Monday, February 25, 2013
Board Open Session – 5:55 PM – Board Room
Board Closed Session – 6:00 PM – Board Executive Conference Room
Board Business Meeting – 6:30 PM – Board Room
*Times are approximate
Call to Order – Mr. Francis F. Grambo, III, President
Quorum Roll Call
Adoption of Agenda
Pledge of Allegiance
6:35 PM Recognitions:
– Hall of Fame Educator – Dr. Dennis L. Kirkwood
– Hickory Elementary School, Maryland Excellence in Gifted and Talented Education School Award
– Jessica Hoover, Outstanding Educator in Gifted and Talented Education
– 2012 National Board Certified Teachers
6:55 PM Public Comment
7:10 PM Introductions
7:15 PM Board Committee Reports and Comments
7:30 PM A. Consent Agenda:
1) Monthly Report on Personnel
2) Minutes of Previous Board Meeting: February 11, 2013
– Gifted and Talented Education Month
– National Music in Our Schools and Youth Art Month
– Maryland Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day
7:35 PM B. Decision on Appointments and Promotions, Ms. Jean Mantegna
7:45 PM C. Presentation of HCPS Board Policies, Patrick P. Spicer, Esq.
– Advertising (Policy No. 06-0024-000)
– Memorials on School Grounds (Policy No. 06-0025-000)
– Naming of Public School Buildings or Facilities (Policy No. 20-0024-000)
8:05 PM D. Strategic Plan Update #4, Presentation on Student and Parent Satisfaction Survey, Ms. Teri Kranefeld, Ms. Leann Schubert, Mr. Phil Snyder
8:25 PM E. Presentation of Legislative Update, Ms. Kathy Carmello
8:45 PM F. Superintendent’s Report
8:50 PM Future Meetings Review