Weather permitting, the Harford County Board of Education will hold a February 10th business meeting including a report on inclement weather procedures. Also on the Monday agenda is a financial report projecting a $3.2 million unassigned operating fund balance at the end of fiscal year 2014.
First on the agenda, the Board has planned a “Discussion and Informational Report on Inclement Weather Procedures”. No further details were published for this agenda item, which is to be introduced by Joe Licata, HCPS chief of administration, and Transportation Director Charlie Taibi. However, the school system’s decision to open school on time last Monday sparked outrage among parents in North Harford, which was hit by heavy snowfall that covered roadways and raised concerns about student safety on school buses. School officials eventually decided to dismiss school early that day, but the episode prompted residents to call for a separate “North Harford Zone” for weather-related delays and closures.
Next on the agenda, Ryan Burbey will make a presentation on behalf of the Harford County Education Association (HCEA), the bargaining union representing HCPS teachers.
Under action items, the Board is set to vote on proposed revisions to its policy on school attendance boundaries and its policy on closing a school.
At a previous Board meeting, HCPS General Counsel Pat Spicer outlined revisions to the policy entitled “Adjustment of School Attendance Boundary Lines” as recommended by the Board Policy Review Committee. The revisions authorize the superintendent to initiate a recommendation that the Board adjust school boundaries. Current policy does not allow the superintendent to unilaterally initiate the process. However, under both current and revised policy, the Board must approve any changes.
Revisions to the policy entitled “Closure of a School” were similarly proposed at an earlier Board meeting, and are also planned for a vote Monday. The revisions lay out the timeline established in state regulations for the Board to publicly announce a decision to permanently close a school. Except for emergencies, the Code of Maryland Administrative Regulations (COMAR) requires public notification of a school closure at least 90 days in advance, but not later than April 30th of any school year. The Board’s policy review committee has proposed including the timeline in the policy in order to improve public awareness of all procedures for closing a school.
Jim Jewell, assistant superintendent of business services, will present a quarterly financial report for the period ending December 31, 2013. According to the published report, the school system’s accumulated fund balance, or excess of revenues over expenses, was $13.1 million on July 1, 2013, which was the beginning of the 2014 fiscal year. However, most of the $13.1 million has been assigned to cover operating expenses in this fiscal year (2014) and next (2015). Net of all planned assignments and projected additions, the unassigned operating fund balance is projected at $3.2 million for the fiscal 2014 year-end, or less than 1% of the school system’s $424.7 million unrestricted operating budget.
In a related item, Jewell will ask the Board to approve a $206,000 supplemental fund balance appropriation to pay for software program upgrades. The software supports various administrative functions, including financial, human resources and procurement systems, plus student records management and print shop operations.
Last on the agenda is a report by Interim Superintendent Barbara Canavan.
The February 10th meeting is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. in the A.A. Roberty Building in Bel Air. The public comment period is planned for 6:55 p.m. The complete published agenda appears below. Please note that published agendas are subject to change.
Monday, February 10, 2014
Board Business Meeting – 6:30 PM – Board Room
*Times are approximate
Call to Order – Mrs. Nancy Reynolds, President
Quorum Roll Call
Adoption of Agenda
Pledge of Allegiance
Discussion and Informational Report on Inclement Weather Procedures, Mr. Joeseph P. Licata and Mr. Charlie Taibi
6:55 PM Public Comment
7:10 PM Board Committee Reports and Comments
Presentation by Harford County Education Association (HCEA), Mr. Ryan Burbey, President
7:45 PM A. Consent Agenda:
1) Affirmation of Monthly Contracts (Goal 4)
2) Minutes of Previous Board Meetings: (Goals 1-4)
– January 8, 2014 Public Input Session
– January 13, 2014 Public Input Session
– January 13, 2014 Business Meeting
– January 15, 2014 Public Input Session
– January 15, 2014 Work Session
– January 27, 2014 Business Meeting
7:50 PM B. Approval of HCPS Board of Education Policies, Patrick P. Spicer, Esq. (Goal 4)
– Adjustment of School Boundary Attendance Areas (Policy No. 20-0041)
– Closure of a School (Policy No. 20-0042)
8:10 PM C. Approval of Supplemental Appropriation of Fund Balance, Mr. James M. Jewell (Goal 2)
8:30 PM D. Presentation on Quarterly Financial Report for the Period Ending December 31, 2013, Mr. James M. Jewell (Goal 4)
8:50 PM E. Superintendent’s Report
9:00 PM Future Meetings Review