Olympia School District (OSD) director Hilary Seidel introduced a policy amendment to seat one student representative from each OSD high school on the board of directors.
“This is the policy that governs how students sit on our board... we are looking to have one representative from every school enrolled in Grades 9 through 12,” Seidel told the board of directors during the OSD regular meeting on Thursday, May 12.
Olympia has four high schools: Olympia, Capital, Avanti and Olympia Regional Learning Academy. Currently two students are serving on the board each year, so two schools are not represented in alternating years.
Seidel presented the proposed amendment on behalf of OSD Director Darcy Huffman, who was not in the meeting.
She added the student’s term would run from July 1 to June 30 the following year. A current director will mentor each representative.
“The change in the term of service had a lot to do with some feedback we've gotten over the years from student representatives who wish they would have voted on the budget at the end of their term,” Seidel said.
“Historically, we have installed student representatives right before we vote on the budget for the next year. We decided it would make sense to start there after the budget adoption so that the last vote of the last voice that the student would give would be on the budget,” explained Seidel.
She asked the board of directors to form a committee, including board members, principals and educators, who will work to seat one student representative from each OSD high school on the board of directors each year.
The proposed amendment is still in the first reading, but OSD vice-president Justin McKaughan expressed support for the proposal.
“This is going to be a great direction for the district,” McKaughan commented “We need to have more student voices. This is a great opportunity for our students to lead this district.”
OSD director Scott Clifthorne wanted the board of directors to do additional work and identify what kind of direction they wanted to take in terms of procedure and policy, sayinghe is concerned about putting peer pressure on students who signed up to be representatives.
OSD president Maria Flores said there should be a distinction between them – the board of directors, who are elected, and students, who educators, committee and peers nominate.
“We don’t want students to be put in a position where they are being pushed [or do] beyond what they signed up for, which is to represent the student body,” Flores said.
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