Harford school board to host community round table

The Harford County Board of Education will host a round table discussion with local business and community leaders next week at Edgewood High School.

Board members announced the meeting during Monday's business meeting.

"We will be having a dialogue with many organizations, business, community groups, civic members," Robert Frisch, a school board member, said.

The meeting is scheduled to take place at 6 p.m. next Monday at Edgewood High.

Board members stressed members of the public will not be able to comment, but encouraged them to come.

"The public is certainly welcome to attend, but they will not be asked to speak at that particular round table," Nancy Reynolds, school board president, said.

She noted the Board of Education will host five public comment sessions on its budget for the 2015 fiscal year in January; some sessions will be held during the day and others in the evening.

Frisch said the discussion at Edgewood will serve as a forum to "flesh out" issues affecting the school system, including the budget, in a public setting.

"It's really about what the community wants their school system to be, and we need to have that dialogue, especially when we are faced with the budget constrictions that we have," he explained.

Next board meeting canceled

Reynolds entertained two motions from the board Monday, first to cancel the Nov. 25 meeting and second, to start the Dec. 9 meeting an hour earlier than normal, at 5:30 p.m.

Both motions were approved 5-0 by the board – members Thomas Fitzpatrick, Cassandra Beverley, Joseph Hau and Vice President Francis "Rick" Grambo were absent Monday because they were either sick or out of town.

Canceling the Nov. 25 meeting freed board members and school officials to attend a 6 p.m. public hearing that day on the county's FY2015 budget, hosted by County Executive David Craig.

The hearing will take place at Fallston High School.

Bel Air Elementary School parent Hillary Doherty highlighted the scheduling snafu during the public comment portion of Monday's meeting.

She faulted the county executive for scheduling the hearing when the school board meeting has been "on the books for months."

"I will not be here on the 25th," Doherty said, speaking before the board voted to cancel the next meeting. "I will be there fighting for our students and telling the county executive how under funding hurts students."

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