BoardNotes: November 2020

Highlights from the Caroline Board of Education Meeting

Caroline County Board of Education meetings may be viewed live or after the fact on the district's Vimeo page. For information about the Board of Education, including agendas and meeting schedules, please visit the CCPS website Leadership page.



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


CRHS Student Artwork Chosen for First Lady's Gallery

Dina Dorcelus, student at Colonel Richardson High School, was recognized by the Board for her artwork being selected for Maryland’s First Lady Yumi Hogan’s Exhibition in Annapolis, Maryland. The artwork is a self-portrait created from different strokes of the same word, 'Sugar'. Ms. Dorcelus attended the meeting via Zoom, and was congratulated by Dr. Saelens and board members for her talent and creativity.

The First Lady’s Gallery is in collaboration with the Maryland State Arts Council and the Maryland State Department of Education, and located in the House of Delegates Office Building in Annapolis. The student art program features showcases every fall and spring.

News Release

PBIS Recognition for 2019-2020 School Year

All ten Caroline County Public Schools were recognized for their success with school-wide Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) systems in the 2019-2020 school year. Awards were presented at the November board of education meeting by Supervisor of Pupil Services William Allen.

News Release

Maryland FFA Honorary American Degree Recipient

Jodi Callahan, CASE Teacher at CCTC, has been formally recognized by the National FFA Organization, during the virtual National FFA Convention on October 27, as a Maryland Honorary American Degree Recipient. The FFA recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to FFA and are honored with Distinguished Service Citations, VIP awards or the Honorary American FFA Degree.

Ms. Callahan has served 10.5 years at Caroline Career & Technology Center as the CASE (Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education) teacher.

News Release


FY2020 Audit Reports

The Board voted to accept the audit reports, prepared by TGM Group LLC, Certified Public Accountants, for FY2020. Erin Thornton, Comptroller for CCPS and Chris A. Hall, CPA, CFE, from TGM presented reports and answered questions from board members.

The three annual audits of CCPS financial management are:

(1) Financial Report
(2) Compliance Report
(3) Audit Communications

The three audit documents indicate that the Board of Education has conducted its financial matters in accordance with accepted standards, without noted exception.

Mr. Hall thanked Ms. Thornton and her team for putting protocols in place in order to have the audit proceed in a safe and timely manner.

School Bus Lease Agreement

The Board voted to approve a school bus lease agreement with Mr. Richard Hayman for an amount not to exceed $134,528.61 for the purchase of four used school buses.

Mr. Hayman has been providing field and athletic trip services to CCPS for over twenty years. CCPS is not currently providing any field or athletic trips, and when they resume, Mr. Hayman no longer wishes to provide that service. These buses may now be utilized for regular and special runs as more students are brought back to school with social distancing protocols in place (one student per seat except for siblings).

The buses are four, seven, nine and eleven years old respectively and are in excellent condition. The agreed to price of $133,000 for all four buses was based on the appraisal provided by IG Burton, the bus vendor that we utilize for new bus purchases. Funds utilized to pay for this lease are CARES funds through the County and the ESSER Fund Reopening Schools Incentive Grant. No local funds will be used.

Budget Adjustments for FY2020

The Board voted to approve the budget adjustments for FY 2020 as presented.

The budget amount for unrestricted state revenue must be decreased to reflect actual. Restricted revenue must be increased to balance the expenditures for restricted programs listed on the attached page. Revenues from other sources were more than budgeted due to higher than anticipated revenue a variety of sources.

Total expenditures in the areas of school management and support, special education, pupil personnel services, health services, operation of plant, maintenance of plant, fixed charges and capital outlay exceeded their budgeted amounts. Reasons for the over expenditures in the various categories is as follows:

  • School Management and Support: Actual salary costs higher than budgeted; communication costs – reduction of E-rate reimbursement
  • Special Education : Actual salary costs and contracted services greater than budgeted
  • Pupil Personnel Services: Contract expansion with High Roads following budget adoption
  • Health Services: Actual salary costs greater than budgeted due to increased student needs
  • Operation of Plant: Salaries higher than anticipated due to overtime; utilities higher than anticipated due to price increases; additional PPE supplies and equipment associated with COVID-19 pandemic
  • Maintenance of Plant: Unusually higher than normal contracted services associated with maintenance service contracts at various schools
  • Fixed Charges: Rising costs associated with accrued leave, workers compensation insurance, and unemployment.
  • Capital Outlay: One time building related improvements associated with increasing school safety and year-end projects.

The areas of administration, instructional salaries, instructional textbooks and supplies, other instructional costs, and pupil transportation will be decreased to offset the over expenditures in the above categories.

The County Commissioners must also approve these revisions.

Non-Discrimination Policy

The Board voted to approve Policy I.12.80 – Nondiscrimination.

In August 2020, the Office of Civil Rights Final Rule for Title IX went into effect. Local school systems must comply with the changes to Title IX. This policy articulates the school system’s adherence to federal and state nondiscrimination laws, and the accompanying regulation will outline specific federally required procedures as it relates to Title IX compliance. This new policy, and subsequent regulation repeal and replace Board Policy IV.41.90 Sexual Harassment.


Board Member Reports

Mr. Newcomb shared that the Board and County Commissioner tour of the new Greensboro Elementary School was excellent, and the progress made to date was very impressive. Ms. Dill agreed and said that not only was the new school a positive for future students, it was a benefit because the project created local jobs.

Ms. Cheek and Mr. Rowe acknowledged this as their last Board meeting. Ms. Cheek thanked Dr. Saelens, the directors, and the central office staff for doing the extra work that the pandemic created, and said she appreciated how hard it has been. Regarding a change of methods in the classroom, Ms. Cheek said that everyone's wisdom and knowledge working together to implement that change made it successful.

Mr. Rowe said that the past year was a unique experience and he was proud of the school system. As MABE president, he saw the work of other school systems in the state, which made him proud to be a part of Caroline. He said there is no answer for what we are dealing with right now but Caroline is doing it better than anyone else.

Ms. Dill thanked the outgoing board members for their years of service.

Superintendent's Report

Dr. Saelens presented outgoing board members Louise Cheek and Tolbert Rowe with appreciation gifts from CCPS and proclamations from the Caroline County Commissioners. She thanked them both for their years of service

Assistant Superintendent & Directors Report (Snapshot)

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

Student Representative Reports

The student representatives provided reports on activities from schools in their respective ends of the county. Dr. Saelens introduced the new representative from North Caroline High School, Zachary O'Brien. Zachary and Gillian Cheezum from Colonel Richardson High School both shared information virtually via Zoom.


Gifted & Talented Program Update

Christal Harkowa, Supervisor of Instruction, presented an update on Gifted & Talented in a Virtual Environment.

Finance Report

Erin Thornton, Comptroller, presented the Finance Report.


Because the board meeting was virtual, citizens were invited to submit public comment via email at No emails were recieved.