Two Wethersfield High School students made the best of their day off from school Wednesday by coming up to the state Capitol to lobby in favor of a bill, which would allow at least two students to sit on their local school board.
Nora Sacks, 18, and Casey Lilley, 17, said they’ve talked to a dozen lawmakers about the legislation that they feel would make their school and community a better place.
“It’s about giving youth a say in their education,” Lilley said.
About 40 of Connecticut 169 cities and towns allow students to be non-voting members of their local school boards, Lilley said.
While it sounds like a fantastic idea, Lilley said there is some opposition to it at the municipal level. He said if the bill passed then some towns would have to change their Charter’s to accommodate the students. Because local governance is always a contentious issue, he said there’s a reluctance to open up a town Charter for a variety of reasons.
Rep. Russ Morin, D-Wethersfield, said the town charter is looked at every 10 years and it was looked at a few years ago, but he didn’t see that as an obstacle for the bill. “I think it’s a great idea,” he said.
Why couldn’t high school kids just attend school board meetings?
Jennifer Paquette, president of the Greater Hartford Young Democrats, said “when you’re in high school you’re not thinking about when the next board of education meeting is.”
Lilley said the students on the school board would not be voting members, but at least they would be present to give their input and see what the school board is doing. “Where’s the money going?” was just one of the things Lilly said he’d like to know.
The bill has been passed by two legislative committees and is sitting on the House calendar awaiting action.
Lilley and Sacks were in the process of tracking down Speaker of the House Chris Donovan before calling it a day.