Finally, Lisanti suggested appointing a bipartisan committee, with members from different agencies, such as the county council, the Havre de Grace City Council, board of education and school administration, to make a collective decision.

With this, Lisanti said, "I pledge my work and assistance to you."

Capacity issues

Even prior to Monday's school board meeting, the issue of capacity at the Havre de Grace secondary schools was raised during a county Adequate Public Facilities Committee meeting Thursday.

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The panel, whose membership includes school administrators, was formed by the Harford County Council four years ago mainly to try to head off overcrowding problems in schools that were prevalent during the previous decade. The committee meets twice a year to go over such information as enrollment figures and available and planned capacity at individual schools.

Councilman Richard Slutzky, who chairs the committee, said Tuesday that Havre de Grace High School has an enrollment of 690 students. The school system's website, however, puts current enrollment at 775 students. The planned capacity for a new school is between 1,100 and 1,150 students.

Even if HHS were to become home an arts magnet program, as has been discussed in the past, the largest existing magnet program in the Harford school system, has 200 students.

The current Havre de Grace enrollment, plus the addition of a large magnet program, Slutzky continued, would still be much less than what is planned for a new facility.

In addition, Slutzky noted that there has been "a consistent decline [in enrollment]" over the years at HHS.

If the state would give funding for school construction next fiscal year, which may be unlikely, the county would only receive funds based on current capacity, he added.