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Othello School Board looks to increase student involvement

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | December 30, 2020 1:00 AM

OTHELLO — Student involvement with the Othello School Board would be expanded under a proposal discussed by board members at the regular meeting Dec. 16.

Currently, the board has two student representatives, both high school students. Board member Jenn Stevenson said the term of one of the two, Loryn Maples, should end at the end of December. There is an application process, which should have been completed during the board’s first meeting in December, but it wasn’t.

“That’s one of the things we have not been on top of,” Stevenson said.

Maples agreed to stay on, and she and the second student representative, Elise Garza, presented a proposal for revising the job.

Maples and Garza proposed establishing a council, which would have students from fourth grade through high school.

“It would serve as more of an advice panel,” Maples wrote.

Among other things, the student representatives would make presentations on issues of importance to students.

“I think it would be really beneficial,” Garza said. “With a student council, we could get the opinion of more (students), and we could know better about what’s going on.”

Stevenson said it’s something the distinct hasn’t tried. One of the goals is to give more students, including elementary students, a chance to be heard.

“We wanted the elementary to be able to have some kind of a say,” Stevenson said.

The student representatives would be in charge of the council and its deliberations.

Garza said one of the goals is to attract students who wouldn’t normally be interested in student government roles.

“We want a mix of all of our student body,” Stevenson said.

How many students would be on that council is still to be determined. It would meet separately, and the student reps would bring the council’s questions, concerns and recommendations to the board.

Garza said she and Maples were writing a survey that would go out to all students from the fourth grade up, asking them whether they think there is adequate student input, and whether they would be willing to serve on a council.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.