MEETING OF THE GARRETT COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION
Oakland, Maryland 21550
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Part I - Call to Order
Mr. James M. Raley, President, called the regular monthly meeting of the Board of Education to order at 4:03 p.m. Also in attendance were Mr. Rodney L. Durst, Vice President; Mrs. Charlotte Sebold, Dr. Donald Forrester, and Mr. Thomas Carr, associate members and Dr. Wendell Teets, Superintendent of Schools.
Part II – Public Comment
Several parents were present to speak about the proposed changes to the Student’s Rights, Responsibilities, and Discipline Handbook. Prior to public comment being made, Mr. Raley ensured that the public comment input will be considered during the time of action. He asked that speakers defer from the use of student’s names and specific incidents.
Sadie Liller was the first parent to speak in regards to the proposed changes. Mr. Raley informed her that the letter she e-mailed was received by all members of the Board. Parents Elizabeth Biser and Sherry VanSickle also addressed the Board in reference to the handbook.
Mr. Raley informed all present that there will be additional recognition for public comment prior to the vote for the revisions of the handbook.
Part III – Executive Session
Upon a motion by Dr. Forrester, seconded by Mr. Carr, the Board of Education agreed (4-0) to move to executive session at 4:25 p.m. in accordance with Public School Law 4-106 and Section 10-508 of the State Government Code for the purpose of discussing personnel matters affecting one or more individuals with respect to a matter that is not related to public business, and to conduct the superintendent’s evaluation. Board members discussed personnel items which included appointments, retirements, and resignations.
Dr. Teets, Mr. Ervin Fink, Executive Director of Administration; Mrs. Sue Waggoner, Executive Director of Instruction, were present during all of the executive session.
Part IV – Reopening Public Session
Mr. Raley reconvened public session at 5:45 p.m. Dr. Donald Forrester, representing the Mt. Top Ministerial Association, offered a prayer, after which Mr. Raley led the assembly in the Pledge to the Flag of the United States of America.
Part V - Acceptance of Agenda
Upon a motion by Mr. Carr and a second by Dr. Forrester, the Board approved (4-0) the agenda.
Part VI – Announcements
The following announcements were offered:
· Joanna Guy, Student Board Member, selected Miss Maryland outstanding teen. She won over 20 contestants throughout Maryland. She will represent Maryland in the national competition in Florida.
· Crellin Elementary, Dennett Road Elementary, and Southern Middle School are among 25 schools in Maryland selected for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for the next school year.
· The underwater robotics camp has recently been completed at the GEARS building. Additional robotics and Lego activities will be continuing throughout the summer.
· Carl Smith and Sandy Berry, of MABE, will be visiting at our August board meeting.
Part VII - Approval of Minutes
Upon a motion by Mr. Carr, seconded by Mr. Durst, the Minutes of June 10, 2008 were approved (4-0) as amended.
Part VIII – Continuing Business
Mr. Raley invited Jim Thomas to answer any questions the Board might have prior to vote on the Comprehensive Maintenance Plan. Mr. Thomas was asked to update the Student Board Member in the plan to reflect Joanna Guy and also to change the date to 2008/2009. Upon a motion by Mrs. Sebold, seconded by Mr. Carr, the 2008/2009 Comprehensive Maintenance Plan was approved (4-0).
Mr. Thomas was also available to answer questions in regards to the Educational Facilities Master Plan. Mr. Thomas informed the Board that the paragraph requested by Mr. Nelson, Planning and Land Development Director, in regards to the completion of a new County Comprehensive Plan, was added to the Community Analysis Chapter.
Mr. Thomas also informed the Board that the Maryland Department of Planning has reported that the student projections are within the 5% that the state allows.
Mr. Thomas explained that the regulation regarding minority business involvement was approved at the MBE June meeting. The state requested signatures from LEA on documentation stating that the board will follow the new regulations. The document needs to be submitted by September and must be signed in order to be eligible for state funding. Mr. Thomas shared that concerns expressed regarding the difficulty to obtain minority business resulted in the revisions. Mr. Thomas explained that there is no longer a requirement to press for the 25% MBE goal on projects. Mr. Raley acknowledged the difficulty, due to geographics, to meet the prior minority regulations. Upon a motion by Dr. Forrester, seconded by Mr. Carr, the Educational Facilities Master Plan was approved (4-0).
Dr. Lauver gave a brief overview of the updated revised changes reviewed at the June meeting when the Student’s Rights, Responsibilities, and Discipline Handbook was presented as information. Dr. Lauver pointed out that the proposed changes in attendance numbers were deleted and the policy will remain the same for responses for absences. Dr. Lauver also added that absences which have been excused can not be referred to the States Attorney and court for action.
The changes being proposed to the alternative program were initially reviewed in the fall of 2007. The review came about due to consultation from parents as well as the fact that a student placed in the alternative program in the fall could remain in the alternative program until the end of the school year. Dr. Teets added that the revisions being made to the student handbook are for providing for a more consistent number of days in alternative school. He advised that Garrett County Public Schools have one of the stricter policies among school systems and any revisions will be more than fair. He added that the principals in the county are in full support of the revisions.
It was noted that student progress, the number of days served during the semester, and common sense needs to be used to determine if a student continues with the alternative program into the next semester or school year.
Discussion regarding the effective date of the policy followed. Dr. Teets pointed out that if the Board approves the policy, it will go into effect as of the date of approval. In the event that the board approves the policy effective July 8, 2008, those who are currently in the alternative program and have served the minimum time will be reviewed on a case by case basis and possibly returned to the regular school program. Dr. Teets informed the Board that there are currently ten students who could benefit from the change in policy.
Mr. Durst suggested taking time next year to review the alternative education program. He stated that it is an old program that was started almost 20 years ago. He explained that the alternative education program was established for mostly violent students who are a danger to themselves and others. He feels it is better to have a policy that is somewhat jell-o but not too liquid and that our principals and site base managers apply common sense. He feels it will be better than a rigid policy that has no room for common sense.
Several parents added comment and suggestions in regards to the policy. It was suggested by parents to do the student review at the end of the grading period as opposed to the end of the semester. This will give first time offenders the best chance of salvaging grades.
Mr. Raley pointed out that the revised policy is fulfilling the requests stated during public comment. He went on to explain that the behavior of the student became the Board of Education’s business because it happened on their property and that it is important to be reasonable and fair minded individuals. He suggested that reviewing the alternative program policy regularly and meeting regularly will ensure continuous improvement of the alternative program. He added that those parents in attendance will be an asset serving and helping on a committee because they have experienced it firsthand. Mr. Raley expressed his support in regards to changes that were made last year. He said it makes common sense and that there was good judgment made on what was in the best interest of the student. He suggested that it may be a good idea to look not at the number of days served as much as in the change of the student’s behavior. Students assigned to the alternative school will have their placements reviewed prior to the end of the assigned number of days, and at the end of each semester and marking period as applicable.
Mr. Raley thanked the public for their input.
Upon a motion by Dr. Forrester, seconded by Mr. Durst, the board approved the 2008 revisions to the Student’s Rights, Responsibilities, and Discipline Handbook (3-1). Ms. Sebold explained that she is not against policy for loosening up on first offenders. She said there may be a need to look at where some students are placed for discipline measures. There are too many inconsistencies with the number of days.
A five-minute break was taken at 7:20 p.m.
Part IX – New Business
Mr. Fink explained to the Board that the focus of the audit is changing based on identifying internal controls and risk assessment.
Mr. Fink introduced Daniel Porter and his assistant, Tracy Teats, of Rodeheaver & Associates. Rodeheaver & Associates has been contracted by the Board of Education to prepare the audit for the 2008 fiscal year. Mr. Porter expressed that communication with the Board is key and should occur during the entire audit process. He explained that this is the biggest rewrite in audit standards in a number of years to include a risk assessment phase. The auditors will look at entity level controls and at activity level controls. After review, they will then ask the question of what can go wrong and where is there a breakdown in the control structure. The audit procedure will then address those risks.
It was questioned as to how this will change the audit compared to previous years. Mr. Porter explained that the output will be a report on internal controls as well as an audit on the financial statement and deficiency weaknesses. All key controls are being reviewed which will give value added feedback on how to grow the organization in a healthy manner.
Mr. Porter informed the Board that no matter what type of audit is being done that everyone is required to follow this approach. The real thrust is on governance participating in the risk assessment process more intimately in relation to what can go wrong, reassessing controls, and the people in place.
Mr. Porter informed the Board that the risk assessment of the audit began two weeks ago. As part of the audit, he provided all members of the Board with a Fraud Risk Assessment questionnaire that should be completed and returned to him.
Mr. Fink explained to the board that the audit historically was a process that occurred at the end of each fiscal year. The new audit process will be on going throughout the year.
Dr. Teets indicated that he is working on updating the Ethics Policy. Mr. Porter noted that the Ethics Policy may need to include information in regards to whistle blowing and that will provide an avenue of communication.
With no further discussion in regards to the audit, Mr. Raley thanked Mr. Porter and Ms. Teats for their presentation.
Part X – Public Comment
There was no public comment at 8:00 p.m.
Part XI – Personnel Recommendations
In respect to time, Mr. Raley interrupted the agenda for New Business in order to act on personnel. Dr. Teets recommended approval of the following personnel matters:
*Appointments: Jason R. Shank, Assistant Principal, SX, eff. 08/1/08
Paul C. Edwards, Assistant Principal, NH, eff. 08/21/08
Michele G. Eggleston, Coordinator/Administrative Assistant, SH, eff. 08/01/08
Angelene A. Harrison, School Psychologist, DR, eff. 08/07/08
Jennifer L. Armstrong, Social Studies/Special Education Teacher, SX, eff. 08/21/08
Lisa R. Shaw, Special Education/Classroom Teacher, BL/KZ, eff. 08/21/08
Tiffanie M. Walker Hardman, Special Education, DR, eff. 08/21/08
Emily Cosner, Special Education, DR, eff. 08/21/08
Dawn M. Roberts, Teacher, SH, eff. 08/21/08
Kelli M. Frantz, Teacher, YG, eff. 08/21/08
Stephen E. Knepp, Teacher, DR, eff. 08/21/08
Debra M. Nicklin, Teacher, BL, eff. 08/21/08
Adra M. Sharpless, Teacher, DR, eff. 08/21/08
Amber M. MaCauley, Teacher, BL, eff. 08/21/08
Ralph B. Sheaffer, Jr., JROTC Instructor, SH, eff. 08/01/08
Ashley Glotfelty, Data Processing Secretary III, CO, eff. 07/02/08
*Retirements: Barbara A. Shaffer, Driver Instructor, CO, eff. 07/01/08
Rebecca A. Shook, Teacher, BL, eff. 07/01/08
*Resignation: Sherrill A. Meyers, Cafeteria Assistant, NX, eff. 07/01/08
Upon a motion by Dr. Forrester and a second by Mr. Carr, the Board approved (4-0) the superintendent’s recommendations.
Upon return to New Business, Mr. Raley invited Lynn Bell, Director of Secondary Education, to review the proposed revisions in the Extra Curricular Activities Handbook. Discussion followed and action will be taken on the handbook during the August meeting.
Part XII – Board Concerns
Joanna Guy, Student Board Member was not in attendance. She wrote a letter to the Board members including updates and her intentions for the 2009 school year. Her letter was distributed to all Board members.
Mr. Carr reported that MABE is interested in any problems that may have been experienced with the high school assessments. It was reported that there were some initial problems with computers but those problems were resolved at both high schools. Northern High School had assessments in the spring and there weren’t any glitches. However, there was some difficulty doing the elementary science assessment on line. This issue is being reviewed.
Mr. Raley reported on the Summer Leadership Conference. He said that Allegany County did an excellent job of hosting the event.
Mr. Raley reported that he also attended the MABE budget meeting on June 26, 2008. He informed the Board that there will be a 5% increase for dues next year. Mr. Raley commended MABE for finding various sources of revenue for support activities and programs.
The 2008 MABE Annual Conference brochure and registration material was disturbed to all board members. All board members should report no later than the August meeting if they plan to attend.
There will be a special board meeting tentatively set for Monday, July 28, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. This meeting will provide opportunity for action on personnel recommendations and to work in executive session on the superintendent evaluation.
Part XIII –Adjournment
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:32 p.m.
Part XIV - Information Items
In addition to the listed items, Board members received
a. June 2008 Attendance Bulletin
b. Donated Computers
c. Erate Fund Distribution
|James M. Raley||Wendell D. Teets|
|Approved: August 12, 2008|