New Harford school board member

As Superintendent Dr. Robert Tomback looks on, Arthur Kaff is officially sworn in as the newest member of the Harford County Board of Education Monday afternoon. Kaff filled a vacancy created by the sudden death of board president Dr. Leonard Wheeler in September. (MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF, Patuxent Homestead / December 17, 2012)

Arthur F. Kaff became the newest member of the Harford County Board of Education Monday.

Kaff, who lives in the Greenbrier Estates neighborhood in Bel Air, was sworn in during an afternoon ceremony at school headquarters in the A.A. Roberty Building in Bel Air.

In addition to his family, several of his new school board colleagues were present as Chief Deputy Clerk of the Circuit Court Linda Settle administered the oath to Kaff, who replaced the late Dr. Leonard Wheeler, who died suddenly in September.

Kaff is a lawyer who works in the Office of the Judge Advocate General, Headquarters Department of the Army. He and his wife have three children, all of whom attend Harford public schools, according to biographical information furnished by Gov. Martin O'Malley's when O'Malley appointed Kaff earlier this month.


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Kaff attended his first meeting as a board member Monday evening.

Legislative program approved

At the meeting, the majority of the school board members approved the legislative platform that will be presented to the county's state delegates and state senators for the upcoming Maryland General Assembly session. The program sets out what legislation the board supports and what it opposes.

The decision on the platform had been postponed at a previous meeting to allow for more board input and discussion.

A committee of the school system's staff and school board members was formed following a Dec. 3 board meeting to review the document, Nancy Reynolds, the school board's vice president, said.

In light of the further consideration, board member Bob Frisch made a motion to approve the platform as previously presented by legislative liaison Kathy Carmello.

Rick Grambo, school board president, wanted to replace language in the platform to include such changes as the board supporting legislation that allows educational freedom for all students, leaving the decision to parents whether their children take the family unit in the school's curriculum.

No one seconded Grambo's motion.

Reynolds, however, made an amendment to eliminate any reference to school choice in the platform, which was approved.

Grambo attempted to table the vote on the platform until the public could review the full platform with the changes, but no other board member seconded his motion.

Board member Thomas Fitzpatrick said his reason for moving forward was because Carmello "made it clear a policy needs to be adopted for her to do her work at this stage in the legislative session." The platform, he continued, can be amended.

Grambo warned board members they should beware of voting for a document they are not completely happy with.

The platform was approved with the amendments, with Grambo the only member to oppose it.