Board OKs policy changes on student representation

High school senior lobbied for new title and `opinion vote'

Howard County

November 09, 2001|By Megan Watzin | Megan Watzin,SUN STAFF

Howard County residents are about to get a student perspective each time the county school board votes.

The board last night approved a new student representation policy that will allow the student associate to the Board of Education to cast an "opinion vote." The student's vote will not be tallied with those of board members, but will be considered symbolic of an official student voice.

Dan Furman, an 18-year- old senior at Wilde Lake High School and the current student associate, has been working closely with school board members since April to revise the student representation policy.

The new policy changes the position's title from student associate to student member as a symbol of the partial vote.

Despite some opposition from two board members when the proposal was formally presented in early October, Furman persuaded all members that his position deserves higher stature and responsibility.

"You have refined, revised and rewritten, and talked with the board members a lot. You have shown a lot of zeal in this policy," board member Sandra H. French told Furman at last night's meeting.

After some debate over how many candidates will be permitted to run for student member each year, the board members changed the candidate maximum from two to three. Furman supported this change.

There was some debate over the new policy's implementation date.

Furman stressed the importance of being able to offer his opinion vote in pending decisions on revised high school district boundaries because of the impact those decisions will have on county students.

A slightly hesitant board complied with Furman's request, and the policy will take effect Jan. 1, in time for the meeting Jan. 23 during which boundary decisions are expected to be made.

The new policy also increases the administrative responsibilities of the student member, accelerates the election process for the student member, and allows not only high school students but also eighth-graders to vote for student member.

It also clarifies the election process and the responsibilities of the student representatives, an elected position from each high school in the county.

Furman has been the student associate since January, when the original associate stepped down.

Board Chairwoman Jane B. Schuchardt commended Furman.

"You have worked very hard on this," she told the young man.

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