Baltimore County's Student Board Member Now Empowered To Vote On Budget Matters
BALTIMORE COUNTY - Governor Wes Moore signed a new law on Tuesday, enabling the student representative of Baltimore County's Board of Education to participate in school budgetary decisions.
Until now, student members were not permitted to vote on such matters. The introduction of this new law necessitates the creation of an educational program to teach the student member about the budgetary process.
The goal of the student member is to provide an "informed student viewpoint" and develop a position that will be consistent with the best interest of all Baltimore County students.
The new law will be operational from July 1, and a provisional educational plan must be presented to the board by December 31, 2023, highlighting the importance of the student member's new vote.
Among Maryland's 22 school boards with a student representative, Baltimore County is now one of only eight allowing these members to vote on budgetary matters.
The Board of Education in Baltimore County consists of 12 members; four are appointed, seven are elected for four-year terms, and one student member is elected annually by their peers. Roah Hassan, the current student representative on the board, will complete her term later this year.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Hassan praised the decision, saying, "I cannot even begin to express how much joy and pride I have for the work."
Under the newly passed law, student members will only be excluded from voting on issues related to school staff discipline, collective bargaining, school boundaries, and the reopening and closing of schools.
Allowing student members to vote has faced pushback in recent years. Following the COVID-19 outbreak, in March 2021, parents in Howard County filed a lawsuit against their school board over a student member's vote that blocked the resumption of in-person classes. The court ultimately upheld the student board member's vote.
BCPS Students recently elected their next student member of the board, choosing Parkville High School junior Kayla Drummond.
In her campaign speech, Drummond emphasized her ability to represent students of all colors, gender identities, and from all walks of life.
"Your student member of the board must be determined, passionate, and overall willing to take on the challenges that come with the position. Someone that listens to, empathizes with and appreciates the students unconditionally. A SMOB who admires the power of all BCPS students. A leader who believes that each and every student of color, LGBTQ+ member, and those who have been marginalized by society feels secure and loved. Someone who believes that a student's quality of education should always be at the forefront of concern," Drummond said.
After the conclusion of Hassan's term on July 1, Drummond will assume the position.
Wes Moore and Johnny Cliche then passed a new law allowing pre-k students to be part of lawmaking against criminals.