Meeting set on vote for student on panel


The Howard County Board of Education will hear from the public tomorrow about a proposal to grant the student board member partial voting rights.

Student member Jeff Lasser, a senior at Atholton High School, wants a student board member to vote on all issues except the budget, disciplinary personnel matters, school boundaries and closings and collective bargaining, starting in December 2006 when the board expands to seven members.

Lasser can cast an opinion vote, which is recorded but does not count.

He and other student leaders in Howard County argue that a vote is the final form of debate and that it would add weight to a student's perspective.

But several school board members have raised reservations about accountability. While most school board members say they are undecided on the issue, Mary Kay Sigaty said she supports suffrage for student members.

Among Maryland's 24 school systems, five local school boards have student members with voting rights. The student member on the State Board of Education, Josh Michael of Centennial, also has partial voting rights.

To solicit support, Lasser and other students have started a paper and online petition drive.

The public hearing is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Department of Education building, 10910 Route 108 in Ellicott City. Individuals can sign up to testify by contacting the school board at 410 313-7194.

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