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Student BOE member proposes student advisory committee

Steven Wang says panel would provide a forum to discuss educational issues

January 04, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE |

Less than two months since making his pitch for partial voting rights, student school board member Steven Wang was back before the board Tuesday proposing a student advisory committee for the board.

Several Washington County Board of Education members praised Wang for his work and made suggestions on how he can improve his proposal.

On Nov. 16, the school board voted 4-3, defeating Wang's effort to get partial voting rights for the board's student member.

Wang brought up the idea of a student advisory committee at the Dec. 14 board meeting and made a formal proposal Tuesday.

The advisory committee would provide a forum for students to discuss educational issues, a way for the board's student member to engage student representatives from all high schools about educational issues, and provide an official committee to channel student feedback, ideas, proposals and initiatives on a regular basis to the board, according to Wang's proposal.

Voting members would consist of one upperclassman and one underclassman chosen by each high school's Student Government Association, Wang said. Nonvoting membership would be open to all county middle and high school students.

Wang said the SGA has a countywide session every other month, but doesn't have enough time during those sessions to discuss educational issues.

Several board members had positive comments about Wang's idea, but a few expressed concerns because the proposal didn't fit into current policy for advisory committees.

As an example, board member Justin Hartings said people must apply to serve on other advisory committees and the superintendent recommends candidates to be appointed.

School board member Donna Brightman agreed the proposal was inconsistent with current policy and said she was still concerned about whether the SGA represented all student groups.

Board member Paul Bailey was concerned about how middle school students would be incorporated into the group because they are unable to drive to meetings.

Board Vice President W. Edward Forrest recommended Wang ask for time on the Policy Committee's agenda.

"(I) don't mean to put you in a cycle of bureaucracy," said Forrest, who thanked Wang for working so quickly on the proposal.

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