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The Aegis
Harford County

Harford County Executive Bob Cassilly addresses school board on upcoming county budget

Harford County Executive Bob Cassilly addressed a standing-room-only audience at the Harford County Board of Education meeting Monday regarding the budget for fiscal year 2024. This was Cassilly’s first visit to the school board since taking office on December 5.

“We all share the same mission,” Cassilly said, “and this is to ensure that Harford’s next generation has the knowledge and skills that they need to be successful in their own lives and as members of our community.”

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Cassilly noted that the Board of Education receives the biggest portion of the county’s budget. The $1.2 billion fiscal 2023 budget included more than $324 million for the school system, or 26.7% of the total budget.

“It’s important that we have a close relationship to make sure that you’re able to develop your budget properly,” Cassilly said.

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Cassilly said the next county budget is being worked on and will be based on revenue projections, anticipated expenses and the overall economic outlook. He called the previous county budget “fairly aggressive,” and said that despite a strong county economy, there is “considerable economic uncertainty with high inflation.”

“We’re going to continue to try to be transparent,” said county Treasurer Robbie Sandlass, “continue to try to be conservative with our budget [and] our revenue forecast so that we can build a sustainable budget.”

Later in the meeting, the board approved Andrew Renzulli’s appointment as Harford County Public Schools’ director of curriculum, instruction and assessment. Renzulli has a master’s degree in education from Towson University and 28 years of experience working for HCPS.

The board also approved a contract for access control system conversions at 12 county schools. These conversions would include upgrading intercom door stations, door card readers and desktop microphones, as well as on-site training for staff members on using the new equipment.

The $299,754 contract was requested by the school system’s procurement department on behalf of the safety and security department. It was awarded to Skyline Technology Solutions of Glen Burnie. Project funding comes from the Maryland Center for School Safety’s School Safety Grant Program.

The conversions will be made at the following schools: Bel Air High, C. Milton Wright High, Deerfield Elementary, Edgewood High, Emmorton Elementary, Hall’s Cross Roads Elementary, Joppatowne Elementary, Meadowvale Elementary, North Bend Elementary, Prospect Mill Elementary, Ring Factory Elementary and William S. James Elementary.

Paula Stanton, supervisor of HCPS’ Office of Equity and Cultural Proficiency, addressed the board to discuss Voices of Equity, a student-led organization that aims to educate students, teachers, and members of the community about the importance of promoting and accepting diversity within the schools.

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The group was organized during the 2019-2020 school year at Harford Technical High School and is now present at 11 county schools. A handful of students joined Stanton to discuss their backgrounds and why Voices of Equity made a difference for them.

“We want to make sure that all of our students can bring their authentic selves to school,” Stanton said, “that they feel connected, that they feel accepted. That’s what we’re all about.”

Harford County Executive Bob Cassilly, left, is joined by Harford County Treasurer Robert Sandlass as they sit before the Board of Education members to talk about the upcoming budget during the Harford County Board of Education meeting Monday, January 23, 2023.

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