Live Blog Recap: Board of Education Considers Hiring a Firm for Superintendent Search
Patch is live blogging the meeting.
(Update 8:50 p.m.) Board members wrap up the meeting and return to closed session, where they will discuss business that they didn't finish earlier.
(Update 8:45 p.m.) The amount of data shared to the board prompted some members to question the volume of data and how much was being shared.
Board member Cornelia Bright Gordon, acknowledging in her comments that she is a new member, said that she has never attended so many meetings where there was so much good news being shared.
"I want to hear more than the glitz and the gloss," she said. "I want to know what work needs to be done."
Gordon asked for data on the suspension rates at elementary schools by grade and school.
School staff said that data is all kept by the school system in its data warehouse but was just not shared at this meeting.
Board member Mike Bowler said he was impressed at the amount of data that is available on the students currently in the school system, after he met with a principal in Catonsville recently.
"No kids can be lost in the cracks in Baltimore County schools," he said.
Board member James Coleman said the board does talk about challenging issues, but that they also need to "toot our own horn" when good things are happening in the system.
(Update 8:25 p.m.) School staff are sharing some interesting facts about the system's elementary school population in a presentation on elementary schools. They include:
- Students in Maryland can now be classified as two races instead of one. For 2011, less than 5 percent of Baltimore County students are considered more than two races.
- 85 percent of students entering kindergarten in Baltimore County are considered fully ready for school based on how they score on entrance tests.
- Since 2002, every student subgroup (a smaller group of students designated by the state such as race or income) in Baltimore County has shown an increase in reading scores on the Maryland School Assessment.
- Math scores have also shown marked increases since 2002, but not across the board.
(Update 8:11 p.m.) Board of Education Vice President Valerie Roddy gave the board an update on the search committee appointed at the last meeting to find a replacement for Schools Superintendent Joe A. Hairston, who is retiring.
Roddy said the committee is considering 'piggybacking' on a contract with Montgomery and Howard counties as well as the Maryland State Department of Education. They are using Illinois-based Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, which was also used by Carroll County Public Schools two years ago to find a new superintendent.
By working with this nationally recognized search firm, the board could spend less time finding a search firm, Roddy said. The board plans to interview the search firm in the next several weeks to determine if the firm is a good fit for the school system.
Board President Lawrence Schmidt noted the search firm, based in Montgomery County, was also used 12 years go when Hairston was selected.
The board could still choose to issue a separate Request for Proposal (RFP) for a search firm, he said.
At the next board meeting on Nov. 8, the board will hear presentation from staff members from the Maryland Association of Boards of Education on how to hire a superintendent.
The presentation will cover the public input that will be part of the process, which can include public meetings or a comments section on the website.
"We intend to have a full, complete and thorough public input process," he said. The board is expected to hire a search firm in later November, which would be the next step in hiring a superintendent.
(Update 7:55 p.m.) Tonight's meeting includes reviews of 18 policies that board member committees have revised. You can find the language for these policies on the board's website under the exhibits for the meeting.
(Update 7:35 p.m.) The first item on the agenda was the approval of elimination of three positions from the school system's budget for the current fiscal year.
Board President Lawrence E. Schmidt and Schools Superintendent Joe A. Hairston said the action is in response to a request by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz to look for more savings in the school system's current operating budget.
The three positions were a communications officer, a supervisor of counseling and a position of the department of technology, which amount to a savings of $198,000.
"This is a symbolic gesture in being responsive to the county executive's request to look within our current budget to find savings," Hairston said.
(Update 7:25 p.m.) Superintendent Joe A. Hairston started the meeting by recognizing students who walked for theRubin Institute of Advanced Orthopedics this past weekend in a fund-raising event.
Staff from the institute recognized a Christine Condon, a Ridgley Middle School student, who came up with the winning design the shirt for this year's walk. We'll get a photo of Christine's winning design later and post it on the site.
(Update 7:10 p.m.) The Baltimore County Board of Education was scheduled to start its meeting at 6:30 p.m., but the board went more than 30 minutes over in closed session. The closed session is held immediately before the board's work session.
All of the attendees of the meeting waited out inside the hallway until a few minutes ago when board members wrapped up. We'll be back with our first post after the meeting starts.
(Original story) The Baltimore County Board of Education will meet tonight at 6:30 p.m. in Towson. Patch will be live blogging the meeting.
This is the second meeting of the month for the school board, which is the monthly work session and does not include time for public comment.
An update on the search process is expected at tonight's meeting. You can read the full agenda here.