CUMBERLAND — Debra Frank talked of “the most humbling and rewarding” experience as a member of the Allegany County Public Schools Board of Education for the past four years.
Tuesday marked her final BOE meeting.
Frank did not run for school board in the last election, and will be replaced by new member Lori Lepley next month.
“I serve on multiple boards in the county. This one is unique,” Frank said of the election component, and responsibility the position of school board member carries.
She thanked ACPS staff including administrators and teachers.
“I’m saddened that teachers not only in this county but across the country have been bearing the brunt of … needless attacks questioning their qualifications and their expertise,” Frank said. “I can say to everybody in Allegany County, rest assured. We have tremendous talent in this system.”
She also thanked the “very bright articulate” student members of the board.
“I hope future boards consider doing in this county what many other counties do in the state of Maryland and that is to give some restricted voting rights to our SMOBS,” Frank said. “They’re valuable contributors to the conversation at this table.”
Frank also thanked the ACPS central office staff, parents, students, constituents, and her fellow board members.
“I have been proud of what we have been able to accomplish,” she said. “I’ll miss it.”
In other BOE meeting news:
Winners of the “Student Christmas Card Design Contest” were acknowledged and included Bailey Junkins of George’s Creek Elementary School, Emmalynn DeRiso of Mount Savage School, Allison Levitt of Mountain Ridge High School and Ebony Prince of the Center for Career & Technical Education.
Wendy Main, ACPS Blueprint Coordinator, provided an update on the school system’s compliance with legislation passed in 2021 that includes comprehensive changes to Maryland’s early childhood and public schools.
Leonard Webb, ACPS Next Generation Scholars coordinator, reviewed the school system’s participation in the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education program, which includes a focus on parent engagement, financial aid, and recruitment for 2023.
The program, which is at Fort Hill High School, aims to strengthen education and improve student achievement and workforce preparedness.
ACPS board attorney Michael Llewellyn discussed proposed procedures for the school system to respond to inquiries and complaints from the public.
Larry McKenzie, ACPS chief financial officer, gave the board a monthly financial report, which included a roughly $2 million variance over last year at the same time for health care costs.
“That is a concern,” he said and talked of a substantial increase in health care claims.
ACPS maintains a reserve account “that should cover any shortfalls that we have in our health care,” McKenzie said.