Carroll panel rejects student vote

April 13, 2006|By GINA DAVIS | GINA DAVIS,SUN REPORTER

Carroll County school board members rejected last night a resolution to support partial voting rights for the panel's student representative.

Brendan Schlauch, this year's student representative, has an "opinion vote," which means he is allowed to participate in voting at board meetings, but the vote does not count. The resolution would not have affected Schlauch, whose term ends next month, but he had hoped to secure the right for future representatives.

Students at the meeting called the board's 3-2 vote a disappointment, but they said they would persevere.

"We'll be back. We'll keep coming back until it passes," said Schlauch, who spent months trying to persuade board members to support the idea.

Board members who remained unconvinced last night said a chief concern was that a student with voting rights would be representing county voters who had not elected the young representative.

"Students only represent students," said Thomas G. Hiltz, the board's president. "If this were an appointed board, I'd have no concerns. [But the resolution] would skirt the process of having an elected board."

Among Maryland's 24 school systems, all but Kent County have a student representative or member sitting on local school boards. Five local boards grant student members some type of voting privileges, according to the state Department of Education.

gina.davis@baltsun.com

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