At a December 16th meeting of the Harford County Board of Education, Interim Superintendent Barbara Canavan is set to recommend a $457.5 million operating budget for the fiscal year 2015 that includes $13.7 million to fund salary increases for employees. Other business on the Board’s agenda includes recognitions for award-winning students and staff, proposed revisions to policies on school attendance areas and school closure, plus a report on employee recruitment and retention.
First on the agenda, the Board will recognize state and regional athletic champions and sportsmanship award winners for 2013, plus the artist whose work was chosen for the 2013 HCPS Holiday card, Bel Air High School senior Samantha Bittle. A number of staff recognitions are also planned.
On the consent agenda, Board members will accept the monthly reports on personnel for October and November. Among the notable retirements, former Aberdeen High School Principal Tom Szerensits retired in October after 40 years with HCPS. Aberdeen students staged protests in 2011 when then-Superintendent Robert Tomback demoted Szerensits to an assistant principal position at Bel Air High.
Next on the consent agenda, Dr. Edna Hirsch, D.D.S. will be appointed to a second five-year term on the Board Ethics Panel.
Also on the consent agenda, the Board will approve supplemental appropriations to complete a $3,249,147 systemic HVAC and controls replacement at William S. James Elementary School. The bulk of funding for this project came from Maryland’s Energy Efficiency Initiative (EEI).
Improvements at C. Milton Wright High School are next on the consent agenda, with the Board set to approve the installation of two solar panel scoreboards at a total cost of $31,648, paid for by the Mustang Booster Club. Also at C. Milton Wright, the Board plans to approve a privately funded memorial garden honoring student Taylor Katherine Duff, Class of 2014. Ms. Duff passed away from brain cancer in January. Her friend and Eagle Scout candidate Adam Bednarek proposes to create the garden, which will include benches, flower beds and a monument.
Also on the consent agenda, the Board will approve a $185,000 contract award to AmSan for custodial cleaning supplies and related projects. Prices in the annual contract were established through a national contract for these items.
Under old business, Board members will render a decision on the proposed school calendar for the 2014-15 school year. In a departure from previous years, the proposed calendar creates a weeklong Thanksgiving break for students and no longer uses spring break as a source of makeup days when schools are closed for inclement weather.
Under new business, the Board plans an “administrative and supervisory appointment/promotion” decision that will be presented on Monday evening by Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Jean Mantegna. Ms. Mantegna will also present a report on recruitment and retention. No further information was published for these agenda items as of press time.
General Counsel Pat Spicer will provide the latest installment of the Board’s ongoing policy manual review. Spicer will present changes to two policies as recommended by the Board Policy Review Committee.
Proposed revisions to the Board policy entitled Adjustment of School Boundary Attendance Areas allow the superintendent to unilaterally recommend changes to school attendance areas, although such recommendations could not be enacted without Board approval. The revised policy further requires that the superintendent’s recommended changes be presented at a public Board meeting and at least one public hearing prior to final Board action.
Proposed revisions to the policy entitled Closure of a School include the state regulations governing the timeline for school closure. Except in emergencies, a school closure must be announced at least ninety days in advance, but no later than April 30th of any school year. According to the published presentation, Board Policy Review Committee members “believe it important that the public be made aware of the school closure procedure…”
Board action on both of the above proposals is expected following a minimum 30-day public comment period.
Nearly last, but not least, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Jim Jewell will present Interim Superintendent Barbara Canavan’s recommended operating budget request for the fiscal year 2015 totaling $457.5 million.
According to the published recommendation, the request is a total increase of $32.7 million over the current (2014) fiscal year. The total increase is comprised of $13.7 million for wages, $10.1 million for employee benefits and a $8.9 million increase in the cost of doing business.
The Board will hold public hearings on the proposed operating budget in January prior to approving a budget request on January 27th for submission to funding authorities. The Board’s budget request is subject to funding approval by state and county officials. Salary increases are further subject to negotiations between the Board and the bargaining unions representing school employees.
The Board meeting will conclude with the superintendent’s report, provided Monday evening by Interim Superintendent Canavan.
The December 16th meeting is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. in the A.A. Roberty Building in Bel Air, with the public comment period planned for 7:20 p.m. The published agenda appears below. Please note that published agendas are subject to change.
Monday, December 16, 2013
Board Open Session – 5:25 PM – Board Room
Board Closed Session – 5:30 PM – Board Executive Conference Room
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
6:35 PM Recognitions (Goal 2)
– Fall 2013 HCPS State/Region Interscholastic Athletic Champions & Sportsmanship Award Winners
– 2013 HCPS Board of Education Holiday Card: Samantha Bittle, Bel Air High School
– Louise Sublette Award of Excellence in School Nutrition: Beth Freeman, C. Milton Wright High School
– 2013-2014 Maryland Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MAHPERD) Emerging Leaders Award: Brian Harris, North Harford Middle School and Allison Hunsinger, Red Pump Elementary School
– 2013-2014 Simon McNeely Award Winners: Matthew Roseland, Physical Education, Patterson Mill Middle School and Ronald Stump, Physical Education, Roye-Williams Elementary School
– American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance’s R. Tait McKenzie Award: Ginny Popiolek
– Maryland Council for Social Studies’ Instructional Leader of the Year: George Toepfer
7:20 PM Public Comment
7:35 PM Board Committee Reports and Comments
7:50 PM A. Consent Agenda:
1) Affirmation of Monthly Contract Awards (Goals 1 – 4)
2) Minutes of Previous Business Meeting: November 11, 2013 (Goals 1 – 4)
3) Minutes of Previous Special Board Meeting: November 18, 2013 (Goals 1 – 4)
4) Monthly Report on Personnel: October 2013 (Goal 3)
5) Monthly Report on Personnel: November 2013 (Goal 3)
11) Resolutions (Goal 2)
– African-American History Month/Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
– Maryland Reading Month
– National Mentoring Month
8:10 PM C. Decision on Administrative and Supervisory Appointment/Promotion, Mrs. Jean A. Mantegna (Goal 3)
8:25 PM D. Presentation on Recruitment and Retention, Mrs. Jean A. Mantegna (Goal 3)
8:45 PM E. Presentation on HCPS Board Policies, Patrick P. Spicer, Esquire (Goals 1 – 4)
– Adjustment of School Boundary Attendance Areas (20-0041-000)
– Closure of A School (20-0042-000)
9:05 PM F. Presentation on Recommended Board of Education Operating Budget FY15, Mr. James M. Jewell (Goal 2)
9:25 PM G. Superintendent’s Report
9:35 PM Future Meetings Review