BoardNotes: February 2021

Highlights from the Caroline Board of Education Meeting

Caroline County Board of Education meetings are livestreamed and may also be viewed after the meeting has concluded. For information about the Board of Education, including agendas and meeting schedules, please visit the Leadership page of our website.



The Board approved personnel items as presented by Debbie Siachos, Supervisor of Human Resources Debbie Siachos.


Calendar Adoption

The Board approved the 2021-2022 school year calendar, which was Calendar 1 of the three draft choices. Dr. Derek Simmons, Director of Student Services, reviewed the legal requirements for school calendars and the process by which the 2021-2022 calendar was developed. This included a calendar survey that was open to staff, families, and the public, which clearly showed Calendar 1 to be most favored by all groups.

News Release

FY 2022 Operating Budget

Dr. Saelens introduced the final FY2022 Superintendent's Budget, which was passed by the Board. Mr. Nagel reviewed details which included:

  • The budget reflects a slight increase from the Caroline County Commissioners. While our official enrollment has decreased by one hundred and eighty (180) students due to the pandemic, state law requires that next year’s local county government appropriation exceed the current years in order to receive a one-time hold harmless grant in the amount of $3,042,226.
  • Projected State revenue reflects unofficial and preliminary data. When the official data is reflected in the State aid calculations, the actual revenue for next year will change.
  • The summary document reflects the fact that the hold harmless State grant results in an increase of State revenue of $99,886.

Cloud Management LAN Switches (eRate)

The Board approved a contract to CDW Government, LLC, in the total amount of $493,729.01 for the provision and maintenance of cloud-managed LAN switches to CCPS offices and schools. The term of the contract is July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2026. The cost for FY22 is
$341,898.73, and then $37,957.57 annually for license fees and maintenance and support.

Bid Tab - Cloud Management Lan Switches

Budgetary Savings Payment

Upon the recommendation of the Superintendent, the Board voted to approve a one-time budgetary savings payment of $500 for all permanent employees. Dr. Saelens explained that this payment was possible because of savings associated with cost-cutting measures taken during the pandemic. It was stated that Dr. Saelens and the Board wished to distribute the savings to employees because of the work involved in educating students in these most unusual circumstances.


Board Member Reports

Mrs. DiGiacomo visited several schools and attended the virtual National Arts Society Induction Ceremony at Colonel Richardson High School. She also attended a virtual North Caroline High School Leo Club meeting, and shared that the club raised over $2700 for the Polar Bear Plunge that benefits Special Olympics.

Mr. Barton is involved in the Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics and applauded the efforts of staff and students in supporting that cause. He also attended a virtual MABE Legislative Committee meeting.

Mrs. Wayman also viewed the NCHS Polar Bear Plunge video and applauded their efforts. She shared that NCHS students, as arranged by staff, are participating in Chesapeake College's Black History Month activities. Mrs. Wayman has also connected with all secondary principals, and will continue to meet elementary principals.

Mr. Newcomb also attended the virtual MABE Legislative Committee meeting.

Superintendent's Report

Imagination Library

Dr. Saelens presented Debby Bennett, Executive Director of the Caroline County Public Library with a donation of $20,350 for Imagination Library, a program which provides a free, age-appropriate book to any child in the county from birth to age five. This is the fifth year CCPS staff has taken on the Imagination Library fundraising endeavor.

News Release

Recovery Plan Update

Dr. Saelens reviewed the development of the CCPS Recovery Plan, and presented a status update as of February 2021.

Dr. Saelens also reviewed data from parent questionnaires that provided information about student remaining virtual or returning to in-person learning.

Board members asked questions about student athletics and spectators, students who chose to remain learning virtually, staffing concerns, requirements for substitutes, cleaning protocols and procedures, planning time, and in-person versus telework for teachers.

Assistant Superintendent & Directors Report

Highlights from all areas of the school system during November were shared in the Instruction & Administration Snapshot.

Student Representative Reports

Student representatives Zachary O'Brian from North Caroline High School and Gillian Cheezum from Colonel Richardson High School virtually provided reports on activities from schools in their respective ends of the county.

Finance Report

Erin Thornton, Comptroller, presented the Finance Report.


Mr. Newcomb requested that the Legislative Update, Chain of Command and Employee Relations presentations be moved to the next Board Work Session on February 16. After discussion and verification that the meeting would be livestreamed to the public, the Board voted unanimously to postpone these items.

Mrs. DiGiacomo asked about the Employee Engagement Survey. Dr. Saelens and Ms. Siachos explained the particulars of this survey, which would be sent to employees on Tuesday, Feb. 9.

Next Generation Scholars

Morgan Cox, Next Generation Scholars Program Coordinator, provided an annual update to the Board.

Big picture

Recruiting Update

Debbie Siachos, Supervisor of Human Resources, provided an update on recruiting efforts.


Due to the meeting being closed to the public, citizens were invited to submit public comment via email at

1. The Board received an email from Leslie Bandura on the topic of ventilation in the schools.

2. A second email was received and provided to the Board, but could not be read aloud at the meeting as the content violated the Sounding Board (Public Comment) Policy, specifically Item 1C.

Citizens providing Public Comment should note that these procedures are to be followed during this time:

  • In lieu of signing in, citizens are advised to email their remarks to
  • There is a 5 minute time limit for each email.
  • Specific and personal references to students, employees or others associated with the Board of Education will not be permitted. Should someone wish to bring something to the attention of the Superintendent or the Board about a specific person or student, they may do so in writing to the Superintendent or the Board.
  • Rude, slanderous, or threatening remarks are not permitted.
  • The Board of Education does not engage in a discussion of the matter being brought to it during public comment. If appropriate, the Board may direct the superintendent to provide a response following the meeting.


List of Future Discussions

President Newcomb reviewed the list of items for future Board discussions.

Additional Board Meeting Dates

President Newcomb reviewed additional closed session meeting dates that are for the purpose of discussing personnel.