Washington County Board of Education briefs

March 23, 2012

Board insurance vote poses conflict

Washington County Board of Education members recently found themselves in a situation in which a contract for life-insurance plans had to be approved — including one policy for board members.

Before discussion on the matter began at a board meeting on Tuesday, board President Wayne Ridenour cited a policy that allows the seven members to vote on issues for which they typically would be disqualified due to a conflict of interest, when the recusals would result in lack of a quorum.

Then Ridenour and board member W. Edward Forrest recused themselves because their wives work for the school system. They left the room during the discussion and vote.

At least two board members said they hadn’t realized they had basic life insurance coverage under the school system’s policy until Chief Financial Officer Chris South told them during the meeting.

Minnesota Life was awarded the contract for various life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment insurance plans. Cigna was awarded the contract for long-term disability insurance.

The various rates they bid are available at the school system’s website. Go online to, click on “BoardDocs,” and find the 5 p.m. business meeting on Tuesday, March 20.

Both contracts were approved by a 5-0 vote during Tuesday’s meeting.

Six companies submitted proposals. Minnesota Life and Cigna were recommended for the contracts because of their high ratings.

Election changes board meeting date

The county school board’s meeting schedule has been adjusted due to Election Day and a schedule change by the Washington County Board of Commissioners.

The Washington County Board of Education will present its 2012-13 fiscal budget to the county commissioners at an 8:30 a.m. joint meeting on April 10 at the board auditorium in the school system’s Central Office, schools spokesman Richard Wright said.

The school board will not meet on April 3, which is primary Election Day, a school system news release said.

The school board’s April 17 business meeting, originally scheduled for 6 p.m., has been moved to 1 p.m., the release said.

Hickory Elementary to get new chiller

A chiller for Hickory Elementary School’s air-conditioning system will be replaced this summer, Washington County Public Schools Purchasing Supervisor Lisa Freeman said.

The job includes replacing part of the roof for the Halfway-area school because the project involves a 100-ton roof-mounted unit, according to school documents.

Low bidder, Warner Industrial, of Frederick, Md., was awarded the contract for $339,900, contingent upon state approval, Freeman said.

Five companies submitted bids for the project, which is being paid for with state money, she said.

The contract was unanimously approved Tuesday by the school board as part of the consent agenda.

Painting contracts uncover memories

A painting contract that the Washington County Board of Education considered recently brought up fond memories for board member Paul Bailey, who said he used to paint schools after he went to work for the school system in 1959.

Teachers such as himself, who were starting families and needed summer work, painted schools for $1.10 an hour, Bailey said. The teacher who got up in the rafters to paint with a sprayer earned $1.25 an hour, he said.

The painting contracts the board unanimously approved Tuesday as part of a consent agenda included hourly rates for additional painting that might be needed within a year. Those rates ranged from $25 to $70 an hour.

The contracts were for interior painting this summer at Boonsboro Middle School, Lincolnshire Elementary in Halfway and Paramount Elementary north of Hagerstown.

The county school system is hiring a contractor for the work, freeing up two school system painters to handle smaller projects, according to school documents.

Keith Brining Painting of Williamsport was the low bidder for the Boonsboro Middle and Lincolnshire Elementary jobs, at a total cost of $84,000.

Those two schools might contain lead paint, so bidders have to know safe lead-paint practices, the documents said.

At $17,280, Excel Painting of Baltimore was the low bidder for the Paramount Elementary job.

The prices do not include the cost of paint and primer, which the school system will supply, Purchasing Supervisor Lisa Freeman said.

Ten companies submitted bids.

Work planned for Hicks Middle

Ceiling and lighting in E. Russell Hicks Middle School’s east wing will be replaced and asbestos around ceiling pipes  removed this summer, Washington County Public Schools Purchasing Supervisor Lisa Freeman said.

Low bidder, Milton Stamper Builders of Hagerstown, was awarded the contract with a bid of $262,000. That company finished similar work in the school’s west wing in 2010, according to school documents.

Work at the school includes installing more energy-efficient lights and ballasts, the documents said.

Seven contractors submitted bids.

The school board unanimously approved the contract Tuesday as part of the consent agenda.

Citizens council has 13 openings

Washington County residents interested in applying to be on the school board’s County Citizens Advisory Council can apply online, school system spokesman Richard Wright said.

Only two of the advisory council’s 15 seats are filled, Assistant Superintendent Mike Markoe told board members at a meeting Tuesday.

 Markoe said he would bring the names of five to seven applicants to the board.

In January, the board asked school system officials to review the council’s mission, given its declining membership, according to school documents.

Those wishing to apply may go to


— Julie E. Greene

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