School board to consider including student members

3 mins read

FARMINGTON – The MSAD 9 school board instructed its policy subcommittee to discuss letting one or more high school students serve on the district’s board.

Several districts across the state have students serving on their school boards, in an effort to increase the participation of the student body in the day-to-day workings of their educational system. In MSAD 9, high school teacher Jacob Bogar is bringing the proposal forward.

“The idea is to encourage participation,” he told the school board.

The student position, or positions, would be non-voting ones and students would not sit on the board during executive sessions. Bogar said his idea was that students would join the board during their Junior year, serving until they graduated.

The locally-driven idea follows a letter written by the state’s Board of Education Chairman Jim Carignan to school districts across the state. In the letter, Carignan notes that two student members recently joined his board and he asked that the local school boards follow that example.

“Our purpose in writing at this time is to urge you to bring student voices to your deliberations at the local level,” the letter reads. “As you reorganize into [Regional School Units] or continue with your current district arrangement, this would seem a good time to try and have student members on every local board in Maine.”

Bogar’s ideas for the program will be considered by the policy subcommittee, who will review them for later consideration by the entire board. Directors voted in favor of sending the proposal to the subcommittee by a vote of 9 to 4.

“I’d definitely be supportive of this idea,” Director Robert Flick of Farmington, said.

Others, however, said they didn’t see the necessity of having students on the board.

“I don’t think there is any reason students can’t come to one of our meetings,” Director Neil Stinneford of Weld said, “but I don’t see the advantage of having them sit on the board.”

In other business, Superintendent Michael Cormier said that the “stand alone” reorganization plan had been discussed at the Department of Education last week. He is still waiting for feedback on the proposal, which is an alternative to the MSAD 9/MSAD 58 consolidation plan voted down on Nov. 4 by Franklin County residents.

School administrators also want to bring to people’s attention the reduced school lunch program. Applications to that program are available through the students’ schools or online at the MSAD 9 website.

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