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The Harford County Public Schools superintendent is proposing to eliminate some school board policies, but he’s getting resistance from some school board members.

At the Harford County Board of Education meeting at the school system’s headquarters in Bel Air Monday night, Superintendent Robert Tomback recommended eliminating four board policies, those regarding absence of principal; emergency procedures for the public schools; management of Do Not Resuscitate, or DNR, orders; and the student control and classroom management, and revising two other policies.

The board will not vote on the recommendations for another 30 days.

The school system's Policy Committee, according to Patrick Spicer, the school system’s lawyer, deemed most of the policies administrative in nature.

But board members Robert Frisch, Rick Grambo and Donald Osman disagreed.

“It’s the responsibility of the board to have policies, even if they are one-liners,” Frisch said. “I don’t think that giving away, in essence, the authority is in the best interest of the board.”

Frisch and Leonard Wheeler also said the whole board should consider policies, not just members on the committee.

Grambo was one of the members on the policy committee and still disputed the recommendation.

“I was in those meetings and I didn’t think it was a good idea then,” he said, “and I don’t think it’s a good idea now.”

The absence of principal policy, which says a principal has to designate another “qualified professional” to fill the position during his or her absence, was deemed within the scope of the superintendent’s duties, according to the policy committee.

The emergency procedures for the public schools policy requires the superintendent to update emergency protocol and work with principals to have them annually review procedures. This, too, was recommended for elimination because it was considered the responsibility of the superintendent, not necessarily the board.

The management of DNR orders mandates schools to uphold such requests and was instituted when upholding a DNR in schools was controversial, accord to Spicer.

The board, he said, made it a policy to clear up any uncertainty within their guidelines but now, with the controversy over, it’s not necessary to have a specific policy.

Board President Mark Wolkow, however, was not sure about deleting it.

“That’s such a critical nature, I think we need to be really, really careful with what we do,” he said.

The fourth policy recommended for elimination requires principals to maintain organized schools, which, Spicer said, is a given in the school system and doesn’t need to be mandated.

The board will also vote on a policy revision to limit interscholastic athletics to the high school level and another to delete the intramural athletic activities policy from the school management section of the board manual and transfer it to the instruction section.

In other school board business from Monday's meeting:

o Board members voted to transfer funds among capital projects, transferring $18.2 million from 11 projects to six.            

The six projects getting funding are air-conditioning at Youth’s Benefit, William Paca and Jarrettsville elementary schools, as well as electrical upgrades to the Forest Hill Annex and funding for major HVAC repairs and the roofing account.

o Assistant Superintendent of Business Services James Jewell presented board members with a quarterly financial report, which shows a possible $4.4 million remaining in the fund balance at the end of the year.

o Christian Slattery Sr., of Hall’s Cross Roads Elementary School in Aberdeen, was recognized as the 2011 Teacher of the Year. The nine other finalists were also recognized.

o The 2012-13 calendar was approved, with a start date on Aug. 27, 2012 and potential end date on June 11, 2013. Thanksgiving break is scheduled for Nov. 22 and 23, winter break is Dec. 24 through Jan. 1 and spring break is set for March 29 through April 3.

o The next board meeting is scheduled for May 23 at 6:30 p.m. in the A.A. Roberty building in Bel Air.

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