Board of Education

Board of Education
40 South Second Street
Oakland, MD 21550
Phone 301.334.8931
Fax 301.334.7621

Minutes January 11, 2011

MINUTES

 

MEETING OF THE GARRETT COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION

Oakland, Maryland  21550

 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

 

____________ 

 

                        Part I – Call to Order

            Dr. Donald Forrester, President, called the regular monthly meeting of the Board of Education to order at 4:03 p.m.  Also in attendance were Mr. Thomas Carr, Vice President; Mr. Rodney Durst, Mrs. Charlotte Sebold, and Mrs. Cynthia Downton, associate members; and Dr. Wendell Teets, Superintendent of Schools.  Mr. Gregan Crawford, newly elected County Commissioner and the new Board of Education Ex-Officio member, was in attendance.  The meeting was held at the Garrett County Board of Education office.

                        Part II – Oath of Office

            Dr. Forrester welcomed Cynthia Downton, newly appointed board member, as well as her spouse, Mike Downton.  He also welcomed the other County Commissioners, Mr. James Raley and Mr. Robert Gatto, and visitors from Mr. Carr’s family who were present for the administration of the oath of office.

Mrs. Sondra Buckel, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Garrett County, administered the oath of office to the newly re-elected Board members, Dr. Donald Forrester, Mr. Thomas Carr, and Mr. Rodney Durst, for the term of January 2011 through December 2014. She also administered the oath of office to newly appointed Board member, Mrs. Cynthia Downton, who will serve from January 2011 through December 2012.  Mrs. Downton was appointed as an at-large Board member by the County Commissioners to replace Mr. James Raley, who has been elected a County Commissioner.  Mrs. Buckel then read the members’ Commission from the Governor of Maryland. 

Part III – Public Comment

            Mr. Gregg Harvey, President of the Bloomington Advisory Committee, made public comment in regards to the possible closing of Bloomington Elementary School.

                        Part IV – Election of Officers

            In order to conduct the election for president of the Board of Education, Dr. Forrester relinquished the chair to Dr. Teets who asked for nominations.  Mr. Durst nominated Mr. Carr.  Upon a second by Mrs. Sebold, the Board voted (4-0), to elect Mr. Carr as president.  Mr. Carr then assumed the chair and thanked everyone for the vote of confidence.  He then asked for nominations for the vice presidency. Mrs. Sebold was nominated by Mr. Durst.  Upon a second by Dr. Forrester, Mrs. Sebold was elected, (4-0), as vice president.

                        Part V – Executive Session

            Upon a motion by Mrs. Sebold, seconded by Dr. Forrester, the Board of Education unanimously agreed to move to executive session at 4:20 p.m. in accordance with Public Law 4-106 and Section 10-508 of the State Government Code for the purpose of discussing personnel matters affecting one or more individuals.  Board members discussed items that included approval of the December 13, 2010 executive minutes, a resignation, Department of Transportation personnel items, emergency coaches, volunteer coaches, requests for leave without pay, professional leave requests, and negotiations.

            Dr. Teets, Mrs. Sue Waggoner, Executive Director of Instruction; Mr. Keith Harvey, Director of Human Resources; Mr. Larry McKenzie, Director of Finance; and Commissioner Gregan Crawford were present during all or part of the Executive Session.

                        Part VI – Opening of Public Session

            The Board reconvened in public session at 5:40 p.m.  Student Board member, Elizabeth Sines, joined the meeting at this time.  Mr. Carr again extended welcome to Mrs. Downton, Commissioner Crawford, and Mr. Larry McKenzie.  Dr. Forrester offered a prayer, after which Ms. Sines led the assembly in the Pledge to the Flag of the United States of America.

Part VII – Acceptance of Agenda

            Upon a motion by Dr. Forrester and a second by Mrs. Sebold, the Board of Education unanimously approved the agenda as amended.  Recognition of the designer of the 2010 Christmas card was postponed until February due to the weather conditions. 

                        Part VIII – Announcements

            January 15      4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. FFA Buckwheat Cake Dinner

                                                                    Pleasant Valley Community Center

            January 17                                        No School – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

            January 19                                        Science Fair at Northern Middle

            January 22      2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Benefit Dinner for Ann Ellis at NH

January 28                                        Professional Day (Students dismissed 3 hours early)

 

·                 For the third straight year, Education Week's 2011 Quality Counts report has ranked the Maryland school system first in the nation.

 

Part IX – Approval of Minutes

            Upon a motion by Dr. Forrester and a second by Mrs. Sebold, the minutes of December 13, 2010 were unanimously approved as amended.

                        Part X – Continuing Business

            Mrs. Bell, Director of Secondary Education, welcomed all the new participants to the meeting.  She was present to answer any additional questions the Board had on the revisions of Policy 347.7, Curricular, Co-Curricular and Extra-Curricular Activities.  Dr. Teets recommended approval of the policy.  Upon a motion by Dr. Forrester and a second by Mr. Durst, the Board of Education unanimously approved the revisions of Policy 347.7, Curricular, Co-Curricular and Extra-Curricular Activities.

            Mrs. Bell informed the Board that the coaches have been secured for bocce and there are student practices currently being held.  She informed the Board that the first competition is going to be held this month and that the regional competition will be held in March.  Mrs. Bell pointed out that if everyone who has indicated an interest participates, the goal of at least 25% participation in the Unified Sports Program will be met.  In addition to the 10% ratio in the other sports programs, the combined representation will leave us in good standing.  Dr. Teets recommended approval of the Unified Sports Program.  Upon a motion by Mr. Durst and a second by Dr. Forrester, the Board of Education unanimously approved the Unified Sports Program. 

                        Part XI – New Business         

Mr. Harvey, Director of Human Resources, presented the Board with a proposed policy, 726.65, Whistle Blower.  As part of the legislative audit, it was suggested that the Board of Education develop a whistle blower policy.  Mr. Harvey, along with colleagues and a review of other whistle blower policies, has created a policy that he feels is appropriate for the Board of Education.  Mr. Harvey informed the Board that he is working on his goal of having all the board policies and procedures updated.  In order to keep organized, he will start with the 100 series and continue numerically through the policies. However, if there are policies and procedures which need to be addressed immediately, he will do so. 

Dr. Teets reiterated that Mr. Harvey surveyed several other policies from around the state to create this policy.  He also informed the Board that Mr. McKenzie and he will attend the House Education and Economic Development Committee meeting on January 20.  There will be six counties at the meeting to report on the legislative audit.  In regards to the legislative audit, he stated that responses have been sent and good progress has been made to date. 

Discussion ensued on the Whistle Blower policy in regards to whom one reports when certain situations arise.  The Board requested some wording be changed.  Mr. Harvey will make those changes and will bring the revised policy to the February meeting for approval.

Mr. Harvey also presented the Board with revisions for Board Policy 173.40, Chapter I Federal Program Advisory Committee.  He reviewed the revisions pointing out that Chapter I is now Title I.  He indicated to the Board that he met with Mrs. Barbara Baker, Director of Elementary Education, to discuss the policy which resulted in changes to the composition of the committee.  Mr. Harvey will bring the revised policy to the February meeting for approval.

 Dr. Teets recognized Mr. Larry McKenzie, the new Director of Finance.  He stated that Mr. McKenzie has a great background in finance and is learning fast.   Dr. Teets and Mr. McKenzie presented a Power Point on the FY 2012 estimated state aid projections and analyses.  The presentation included an overview of the wealth based state funding formula which explained changes that have greatly altered eligible state funding. 

Mr. McKenzie thanked everyone for being so gracious to him and for welcoming him.  He opened the presentation with a budgetary quote made by Governor Martin O’Malley, “The budget will be balanced as submitted entirely on cuts.  No one will be happy.  No one.” 

Mr. McKenzie explained the state aid sources to the Board.  State aid for education primarily falls within the following categories:  Foundation Programs, Compensatory Education, Special Education, Limited English Proficiency, and Transportation.  The Foundation Programs account for the largest portion of state aid at 54.5% to 56.5%.  This is wealth as well as enrollment driven.  Compensatory Education is made up of students eligible for free and reduced lunches.  There have been significant drops in this population over the past few years. Special Education funding is for the special needs students. The Limited English Proficiency include  students who have a language other than English as their primary language.  Transportation funds, impacted by enrollment and not wealth, will remain relatively flat this year.  There will be five fewer special needs students who will need to be transported next year.    

Mr. McKenzie informed the Board that the wealth formula is used to gauge a county’s perceived ability to fund school activities based upon its own resources.  The wealth formula is applied across all 24 school districts, and in FY11, Garrett County was eighth in per pupil wealth out of the 24 districts.  He informed the Board that Garrett County will likely move to seventh next year based upon preliminary FY12 data.  Mr. McKenzie asked that the Board keep in mind that all of the information for FY12 is not known as of this date.

  Mr. Durst made comment upon the unreasonableness of the wealth formula.  The projection is that Garrett County will pass Howard County in FY12 for per pupil wealth ranking.  He stated that last year in Forbes magazine, Howard County, based on per capita income, was the fourth wealthiest county in the nation.  He feels the wealth formula is unfair, inadequate, and the politicians need to be aware of this so that they can do something about it.  Mr. McKenzie informed the Board that these concerns have been raised with the delegation.  Dr. Teets pointed out that there are different factors being taken into account to figure the wealth formula and it is applied mathematically the same for all systems.

Mr. McKenzie reviewed enrollment figures.  Enrollment is expected to drop by 100 full-time students. Free and Reduced Meal students will drop by 101 students.  Limited English Proficiency will increase by one student and Special Education enrollment will be down to 490.  Over the past five years, Special Education has decreased by 25%, and 45.2% of students remain on free and reduced meals.  He informed the Board that due to the changes in enrollment and the wealth factor, the impact on the budget will be a little over two million dollars in terms of reduction in state aid.  Mr. McKenzie also informed the Board that one piece of the information that is missing is the income tax base.  This number will come in at the end of the month and then final state aid numbers will be released.

Mr. McKenzie explained how the wealth of each county is calculated.  He reviewed enrollment statistics and the estimated FY12 state aid.  He also reviewed the state aid reduction analysis breaking it down into enrollment related state aid reductions and wealth related state aid reductions. 

Dr. Teets gave an overview of the full-time student enrollment and local appropriations pointing out Garrett County’s changes over the past and its current standing.  He indicated that the funding is not distributed in an equal ratio of local appropriations per pupil as compared to state wealth funding rankings. Garrett County has the largest local funding gap of all the school systems in Maryland.   He added there has to be a way to close this gap.  The percent of local funding going to education is one of the lowest in the state.  The system has done well in the past but cannot continue on this path.  

Mr. McKenzie also reviewed the proposed reduction in future state cost-share percentage for FY13 through FY15 for construction programs.  Garrett County is proposed, based on wealth, to be reduced to 59% in FY12, 54%  FY 13,  50% in FY 14, and 50% in FY15.  Pension cost sharing at the county level will also be a future wealth related issue.  It will likely occur in the future and based upon the recommendations of the Pension Committee led by Cas Taylor, it is recommended to be wealth based.  He gave a brief summary of the potential funding shortfalls totaling $3,821,372.05.

Dr. Teets stated that this is the most critical budget he has seen in his career.  He added that we have a great school system with very dedicated personnel, and the students are very successful.  He stated that it is heartbreaking to know our students are getting better and better as we are faced with this situation.  He also stated that it is impossible to keep going the way we are now.  He realized budgets are tough for everyone and pointed out again that Pre-K through 12 education must become a higher priority in Garrett County.

Mr. Benson, UNISERV Representative, stated that the report came out today from Education Week that Maryland is once again the number one school system in the nation for the third straight year and that it didn’t happen by accident.  He explained that in 2002, the state of Maryland made a commitment to public K – 12 education through the Thorton formula by putting 1.1 billion dollars into the education system.  The residents of the state of Maryland have received a return on their investment.  He stated that we are in rough economic times and that everyone must share in the pain, and everyone wonders how we will come out of this in the end.  We have a number one county school system, and, with cuts like this, our students will not be able to compete.  This message has to be taken out into the community.  He added that there are not any “free lunches” and that there are going to be cuts that are intolerable.  If revenue has to be raised to ensure that education is funded appropriately, then so be it.  He asked that those present spread the word to let everyone know that education is an investment that has been proven to reap reward.  He stated that MSEA is willing to work with the Board in every capacity possible to take this case to the public and to the legislators.  And, if revenue needs to be raised, then that is the cost of providing a first class education. 

Dr. Teets informed all present that there has been no discussion about specific cuts.  Mr. Carr added that we are not looking at cutting anything specific at this time.  He wanted to make sure that rumors do not get started. 

Mrs. Sebold asked that all Board members receive a copy of the Power Point presentatioN.

Part XIV - Board Business

Ms. Sines informed the Board that she is still working on the Study Buddy Program and that she has attended some flooding sessions.  She also informed the Board that Michelle Harman is the county student government advisor and that there is a meeting scheduled in January.  Ms. Sines also informed the Board that she has recently been talking with other SMOB’s (student member of the board) and many of them are starting student advisory committees.  If she would start a student advisory committee, she would meet with one representative from each club, sport, and after-school activity and they would discuss the status and needs of their organizations.

The Board took a fifteen minute break.

Dr. Teets presented Dr. Forrester with the traditional, “treasured” gift of a wooden gavel which was signed by the other Board members and the Superintendent in honor of Dr. Forrester’s past year as Board president.

Part XII -  Public Comment

            There was no public comment at this time.

                        Part XIII – Personnel Recommendations

            Dr. Teets recommended approval of the following personnel matters:

·                 Resignation:   Christopher M. Malec, GEAR UP Math Specialist, SH, eff. 12/23/10

·                 Transportation:  Disqualification of two bus drivers

·                  Emergency Coaches: Sarah Cosner, Assistant Girls’ Track Coach, SH

   Kris DeWitt, Bocce Head Coach, NH

   Mike Fulmer, Head Softball Coach, SH

   Donnie Horner, Assistant Softball Coach, SH

   Kendra McLaughlin, Girls’ Assistant Basketball Coach, SH

   Jason Rice, Bocce – Assistant Coach, NH

   Tim Rush, Assistant Wrestling Coach, SH

 

·                 Leave Without Pay:   Betty Elliott, Part-Time Cafeteria, BF

   Nancy Zbel, Pre-K Assistant, FV

 

·                 Professional Leave Request:

JROTC Instructor Training Seminar

January 24-28, 2011

Myrtle Beach, SC

 

Magic Towns & Monarch Butterfly Tour/Mexico

February 15-19, 2011

Butterfly Sanctuaries & Towns in Mexico

 

                        Part XIV – Board Business

            By consensus, the Board elected to maintain the regular meeting time as the second Tuesday of each month, beginning at 4:00 p.m. to move immediately into executive session, with public session to reopen at 5:30 p.m.  Additionally, by consensus, the Board selected Mr. Robert Watson, Esquire, to remain as Board Attorney; and to continue to retain the services of Rodeheaver & Associates as auditor for the current year.

Mr. Carr asked Board members to select committees on which to serve for the current year.  By consensus, the following were assigned for the 2011 calendar year:

Committee    Assignment Alternate
Health Advisory Committee  Dr. Forrester Mrs. Sebold
Hickory Env. Ed. Center Advisory Committee Dr. Forrester Mrs. Sebold
Multicultural Advisory Panel      Mr. Durst Mrs. Downton
Wellness Council Mr. Durst Mr. Carr
Food & Nutrition Advisory Council Mr. Carr Mrs. Downton
Fine Arts Advisory Council Dr. Forrester Mr. Carr
Advisory Committee for Work Force Prep. Dr. Forrester Mrs. Sebold
Advisory Committee on Education Mrs. Sebold Mrs. Downton
Ethics Panel Mr. Durst Dr. Forrester
Calendar Committee Mrs. Sebold Dr. Forrester
Master Plan Steering Committee Mrs. Downton Dr. Forrester
MABE Budget & Planning Mr. Carr  
MABE Legislative Committee Mr. Durst Mr. Carr
MABE Conference Program Planning Mr. Carr Dr. Forrester
MABE Federal Relations Network Mr. Durst  
MABE Nominating Dr. Forrester  
MABE Resolutions Dr. Forrester Mrs. Sebold
Charles Willis Memorial Award Dr. Forrester  
Legal Services Association Dr. Forrester  

 

            Dr. Forrester announced that due to a family situation, he had to resign from the MABE Board of Directors.

            Dr. Forrester gave the LSA Report.  He informed the Board that he was chosen as the Legal Services Association Chair.  One important topic of discussion at the meeting was the overview given by John Woolums of what the best speculation is right now of what the legislature is going to do.  Dr. Forrester pointed out that language is important.  The Governor, in regards to retirement, stated that he promised not to pass those costs on to local governments.  However, he did not state whether or not those costs would be passed to the boards of education.  Even though he made this promise, it does not mean that the legislature can’t come up with its own plan.  Dr. Forrester informed the Board that one thing the legislature might like to do is raise the gasoline tax by .15 per gallon.  This has ramifications for all governmental agencies because everyone will be paying more for gas.  He also informed the Board that a proposed formula change for the Foundation Grant might not be based upon the enrollment as of September 30, but rather based upon an average daily attendance.  The belief is that there is going to be some reductions coming out of the State Legislature for county governments as well as boards of education; however, at this point, those reductions are unknown.  Dr. Forrester pointed out that the Highway User Funds are an issue.  Last year they had promised to put some monies back into Highway User Funds to be used as a rainy day fund and at this point, the thought is that this will not take place.  Dr. Forrester explained that over the years the funding amount for the state retirement was funded at 100%.  The legislature decided to reduce that to 80%, and it is actually funded right now at 64%.  Dr. Forrester added that other things they are looking at are for employees to contribute more to retirement, extending the amount of time before an employee can retire, reducing benefits, and cutting back on state health care programs. 

There are things happening at the federal level and the state level that will have an impact at the county level.  He informed the Board that there was an ethics law passed which has ramifications on all boards of educations and senior staff.  He also mentioned the school system is to have a policy on how records are to be maintained.  Mrs. Waggoner indicated that there is a system in place.  Dr. Forrester also informed the Board that there is discussion taking place at the federal level, in regards to the topic of the dispersant impact of discipline.  In this, they take a look at discipline records and compare the number of discipline actions taken and compare them to how many are minority and/ or impoverished students.  Dr. Forrester gave a brief overview of some court cases throughout the state.

            He also informed the Board that the LSA provides attorney services for a reduced rate to the LEAs.  There are currently five approved panels of attorneys from which to choose. 

            Mr. Carr reported out that Dr. Forrester had covered the legislative recap because Mr. Woolums gave the LSA the same information as the Legislative Committee. 

             Mr. Carr reported that he had attended a Governor’s summit on January 3 and there was a lot of talk but little action.  He stated that the Governor is trying to make a genuine effort to get his mind around educational issues.  However, at the end of the day, the program was still core curriculum, his formative assessments based on the core curriculum, international benchmarks, and the assessments of teachers and improvement of principals. 

At the 2011 MACO Conference, Mr. Carr had the opportunity to serve on a panel with Dr. Grasmick, David Lever, and MSEA President, Clara Floyd, which discussed the relationships between commissioners and boards of education. 

            Dr. Teets asked that the Board members sign the ethic forms that are at their seat.

            Dr. Teets thanked Mr. Crawford for the two tickets to the PACE reception.  The Board discussed carpooling plans to PACE.

                        Part XV – Information Items

            Along with the items listed, the Board also received the December 2011 Attendance Bulletin, the January 2011 Hope Health Letter, the Southern High School newspaper, The Acorn, the 2009-2010 Garrett County Public Schools Annual Report, and PACE tickets and reservation confirmations.

a)     January Activities Calendar

b)     January 2010 Home & School Connection 

                        Part XVI – Adjourn

            Upon a motion by Mr. Durst, the Board adjourned the meeting at 8:02 p.m.

 

_______________________________________ _______________________________________
Mr. Thomas A. Carr Wendell D. Teets
President Secretary/Treasurer
Approved:   February 8, 2011