Harford County Board of Education Agenda Nov. 11: New U.S. History Textbook; Technology Upgrades for Edgewood and Fallston Middle; Cancellation of Havre de Grace High Roof Replacement

The Harford County Board of Education plans a business meeting on November 11th to include proposals on a new U.S. History textbook for high school, technology upgrades for Edgewood and Fallston middle schools, capital budget amendments for the fiscal year 2015, and the cancellation of a planned roof replacement at Havre de Grace High. The Board members will also hear presentations on the draft school calendar for next year, and the annual report on student achievement.

On the consent agenda, the Board is set to approve a $435,673 contract award to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishers of Boston, MA, for Social Studies and Science textbooks and support materials for all middle and high schools. The contract will include licenses providing students with online access to textbooks and support resources. The online licenses provide a cost-effective alternative to buying new books, according to the published background report.

The Houghton Mifflin Harcourt contract also includes the purchase of a new high school U.S. History textbook entitled “American Anthem”, to support a revised curriculum going into effect in the 2014-15 school year. A committee comprised of ten HCPS Social Studies teachers, headed by their Supervisor George Toepfer, chose “American Anthem” for factors such as readability, historical accuracy, and diversity of viewpoints, according to the proposal.

Also on the consent agenda, the Board will approve contracts to purchase Wi-Fi network infrastructure and equipment for Edgewood and Fallston middle schools.

School officials recommend the contract awards to Skyline Technology Solutions, a Glen Burnie network integration firm, in the amount of $140,890.09 for Edgewood Middle School and $137,083.26 for Fallston Middle. According to the published background report, the funds will purchase Aruba Wi-Fi and Extreme Networks products to “meet the demands” at the identified schools. The cost basis for the products was established through a University System of Maryland MEEC (Maryland Education Enterprise Consortium) contract awarded to Skyline Network Engineering, LLC in September 2012.

In other action items, school officials will recommend Board approval of amendments to their capital budget request for the fiscal year 2015, following an October meeting with state funding authorities. The amendments will reduce the overall request by approximately $824,670 to $76,991,350 to reflect a one-year delay in the planned roof replacement for Churchville Elementary School. The delay will allow the project to become eligible for state funding. Further details on the budget amendments for fiscal year 2015 appear below in the link to this agenda item.

In addition to the amendments to next year’s budget request, school officials are set to recommend that the Board cancel the planned roof replacement at Havre de Grace High School. According to the published recommendation, the state committed $830,000 toward the roof project, which was requested by the Board for fiscal year 2013. However, the Board more recently requested a new middle/high school replacement building for Havre de Grace that would require demolition of the existing high school facilities. State officials have advised that if the Board proceeds now with the roof replacement and the state also approves the new building, the $830,000 in state funding for the roof will be deducted from the maximum state allocation for the new building. Alternatively, cancelling the roof replacement will allow the $830,000 to be held in reserve for another HCPS FY 2015 project. Local funding for the roof project in the amount of $556,000 will also have to be reallocated.

Under new business, the calendar committee will present a draft of the school calendar for the 2014-15 school year. The draft sets August 25, 2014 as the first day of school, and identifies potential early dismissal, teacher planning, testing and vacation days. The draft calendar is subject to Board approval at a future meeting.

Officials from the HCPS Office of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment will provide the annual update on student achievement. According to the published background report, the Monday presentation will include the latest results from the state assessment program, SAT exams, AP participation and exams, and data on college readiness and enrollment.

Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Jim Jewell will present the quarterly financial report for the period ending September 30, 2013. According to the published presentation: “All budget accounts are within reason at this time and do not require any actions.” Revenue from newly enacted pay-to-play fees for high school athletics came in at $120,400 for the fall sports season, in line with expectations. Newly enacted fees for other student activities generated $7,950 during the period, however most student activities do not begin until after the first month of school.

As usual, the meeting will conclude with the superintendent’s report, provided on Monday by Interim Superintendent Barbara Canavan.

The November 11th meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the A.A. Roberty Building in Bel Air. The public comment period is set for 6:35 p.m.
The published agenda appears below. Please note that published agendas are subject to change.

Monday, November 11, 2013
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

6:30 PM
Call to Order – Mrs. Nancy Reynolds, President
Quorum Roll Call
Adoption of Agenda
Pledge of Allegiance

6:35 PM Public Comment

6:50 PM Board Committee Reports and Comments

Old Business
Action Item(s):
7:05 PM A. Consent Agenda:

1) Affirmation of Monthly Contract Awards (Goal 4)

2) Minutes of Previous Board Meeting: October 28, 2013(Goals 1 – 4)

3) Award of Contract: Wi-Fi Network Infrastructure and Equipment – Edgewood Middle School (Goal 1)

4) Award of Contract: Wi-Fi Network Infrastructure and Equipment – Fallston Middle School (Goal 1)

5) Award of Contract: Social Studies and Science Resources for Middle and High Schools (Goal 1)

7:10 PM B. Decision on Capital Improvement Program Amendments, Mr. Cornell S. Brown (Goal 4)

Informational Report Capital Improvement Program Amendments

Summary Sheet

County Worksheets

New Business

7:30 PM C. Presentation: Proposed 2014-15 Calendar, Ms. Teri Kranefeld (Goal 2)

Informational Report 2014-15 Calendar

2014-2015 Calendar Committee

2014-15 Calendar

7:50 PM D. Presentation: Achievement and Postsecondary Data, Dr. Susan P. Brown, Mr. Joesph A. Schmitz, Mr. Phillip E. Snyder, Ms. Susan Garrett (Goals 1 & 4)

8:10 PM E. Presentation: Quarterly Financial Report for the Period Ending September 30, 2013, Mr. James M. Jewell (Goal 4)

8:20 PM F. Superintendent’s Report

8:30 PM Future Meetings Review


  1. taxi mom says

    And no surprise. Another meeting without showing the results of the transportation study. Tax payers paid 25,000 dollars (that what people said) to a consulting company and no results are shown to the public, yet. Preliminary reaults were given to hcps in September and the final results in October! Our kids are put each school day in harms way walking roads without sidewalk or at least shoulder to their bus stops, parents have to drive high school students to bus depots, but hcps does not think that we want to see what others think of the transportation office. Shame on them!

    • MANLY MAN says

      But you know what, most parents do what has to be done even if it inconveniences them for the sake of their kids. Do you know why? Because it’s called being a parent, perhaps you should look it up.

      • taxi mom says

        No. I am true believer that children should be taught responsibilities of the basics like getting up alone and go to school, so that when they leave mom’s and dad’s house they are able to go to work by themselves. And you must live in the one mile radius next to the school where your kids are being picked up because for them it is too dangerous to walk with their parents to school.

  2. watcher says

    Surprises? Really? The state had to tell hcps that it makes no sense to put a new roof on the building and raze it right afterwards. What do you really believe to get from them this time. Not to forget after last meeting, when they were so shocked what their decision has done to DI, that issue is also not on the table. Nevermind those teams need a decision now.

    • Karl Marx says

      Silly you, we are only “open minded” towards our way of thinking. The rest must be re educated because they are counter revolutionaries.

  3. Pete Wagner says

    That publicly funded schools have to spend $500K of our taxes (let alone any money at all) to purchase history books is utter political graft/corruption. Even worse, this history is likely skewed to condition our kids to further accept the geo-political thuggery this nation lately calls greatness. Whoever made the decision to do this should be called out on it. Real history can be learned for free these days. Wikipedia is a good start, then let the kids navigate the web toward their interests. That’s real education. Unfortunately, only a real leader can unscrew the situation, and real leaders today tend to be escorted out of the room.

    • Cdev says

      Are you really advocating using a publicly editable website as an alternative to a history text? You might take comfort in knowing textbooks cater to Texas!

        • Cdev says

          Privately, or not editable at all as in the case of an actual text book. If you can let anyone get on and edit it the source of the information can not be questioned and verified. With a privately editable wiki you can ensure only credible people can edit it. How would you like it if in an attempt to push a point of view your child, using wikipedia as their source of information, was exposed to the DNC pushing an agenda that was not only factually incorrect but was essentially indoctornating children into a belief system? You can substitute DNC for Tea Party Patriot, Irish Republican Army, White supremisist group, or any other group or individual pushing an agenda.

          Wikipedia is not a valid text and while it is a good resource when used properly and information is cited and verified it is no substitute or a textbook weather delivered on paper or electroniclly, which this contract does. BTW 500K for a textbook contract of this volume is actually a very good deal! I paid $350 for a science book (text alone) in college which was used in AP biology as well. The going rate for the current edition these days is $800!

          • PB says

            There’s *always* an agenda, always. So I guess for state education, it’s fair for the state to write the manual. At least there won’t be any surprises…

          • Pete Wagner says

            Cdev, ensuring “only credible people” are writing our history certainly assures a bias towards what the monied establishment/corrupt gov’t believes our kids should be conditioned to believe. Times are a-changin’ now, and by every indication of things today, open-source history is the more solid approach, as you get all perspectives and thus must rely on one’s own critical analysis, which is what all historians at all levels must do. If we are to teach history, shouldn’t we want our children to approach it as a professional historian would, and not just be spoon fed a rigid biased belief system? And beyond this, back to the point, why pay $500k as opposed to a free product that is living and thus more current and applicable to understanding the world today?

          • Cdev says

            PB private schools use text books too! Open Source History? When I look that up the reference I find to it, outside of computer code, is a computerized book and it is far from Wikipedia as you suggested. I agree you should provide them multiple view points which is what was meant by diversity of view. Using Wikipedia as you suggest does not ensure that you will end up with view points which are not appropriate for school age children.