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Students get a new voice on Farmington school board

Farmington students will have a whole new voice in the way their school district runs starting next fall.

The Farmington School Board on Monday reached a consensus on a plan to add two student members to the board. The position will be open to high school juniors and seniors and will be filled by an application process.

The student board members will not have a vote, but they will have a chance to add his or her own perspective to board discussions.

The idea to add student members to the board has been floating around the district for a couple of years, since board member Julie Singewald saw the idea raised at a national convention for school board members. The idea has come up a few times since then, but it got a fresh life in April when all of the current board members went to the national convention.

Board member Tera Lee sees value in adding students to the board.

"They see things differently than we do a lot of times," she said last week. "It would be great to get their perspective on things."

That information can flow two ways, too, with the student board member taking what they learn at the board table back into the classroom to give other students a better idea of why things happen in the district.

That isn't always clear to students. Lee said she and board member Jake Cordes were in a ninth grade civics class recently and while the students had gotten familiar with the iPads all Farmington students got this school year none knew the reasoning behind the purchase.

"I have no conscious memory of even being aware that we had a school board in high school," said Lee, a Farmington High School graduate. "I think we need to educate them young."

Monday's discussion focused on how many students board members wanted and how they would be selected. Board member Brian Treakle suggested letting the high school's student government appoint a representative, but others wanted to appoint the representatives themselves.

"I think it would be good to have the students apply so we know this is something they really want to do," Lee said at Monday's meeting.

Board members settled on two student representatives to increase the chances at least one would be able to attend every board meeting.

The board will take applications for the new position when school starts in the fall. Students will likely have to get a teacher recommendation and applications will go through the principal's office for review before they go to board members.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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