Eric Guerci
PHOTO | MCPS

Bill That Expands Student Voting Rights on Montgomery County School Board Passes State Legislature

Eric Guerci PHOTO | MCPS

Eric Guerci
PHOTO | MCPS

A bill that would give the student member of the Montgomery County school board expanded voting rights passed through the Maryland Legislature Wednesday night.

The legislation passed the Senate by a 39-to-4 margin. Under the legislation, the student member of the Board would be allowed to cast votes on significant issues including, capital and operating budgets, school closings, reopenings, boundaries, and collective bargaining. The legislation also allows the student member of the board to attend executive sessions related to collective bargaining.

Michael Durso is the president of the Montgomery County Board of Education, and says he’s pleased with that the legislation passed.

“It’s been a long time coming, but I think well deserved,” Durso said. “Our student members of the board, I’ve had a chance to work with several, and I also had four others when I was a principal here in the school system, [and] they work hard, they represent the voice of the students to the entire community and I think it was a good decision and I’m glad it finally happened in Annapolis,” he said.

Eric Guerci is the current Student Member of the Board (SMOB) and a junior at Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School. He testified twice in Annapolis in support of the bill.

“For me it just is a reminder of the tremendous work that the previous generations of SMOBs before me have accomplished and that sent the groundwork for our final push this year. It’s a reminder of the power of the student voice and the power of advocacy when students come together to push for a change like this.”

For Guerci the bill another stepping stone for students to have a voice on issues that impact their everyday lives. “So, if you look, a lot of the issues we want to pursue, things like class size, things like improving our uncomfortable and deteriorating buildings, fiscal ramifications, which are things that we need to tackle,” he said.

The legislation was sponsored by Del. Anne Kaiser in the House. State Senator Cheryl Kagan also supported the bill.

The approved legislation now has to be signed by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. The bill is scheduled to take effect July 1.

Maureen Chowdhury

About Maureen Chowdhury

Maureen Chowdhury is a multimedia journalist with Montgomery Community Media. She can be reached at mchowdhury@mymcmedia.org and on Twitter at @MediaMaureen. Maureen authors the blog Sound Check on MyMCMedia.

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