The nine-member Frontier School Board soon will have a student representative sitting at its table.
Last spring, voters overwhelmingly approved the student member, but the board has been slow in making it happen.
Initially, some board members publicly complained, saying they didn't agree with it and thought there were enough in-school measures in place for students to address concerns without reaching the board level. But others, who supported the move, said the district needed to get moving and honor the voters' wish, which was made clear in the May election.
In the end, the board acknowledged the district had to move forward with the initiative, though many wanted a policy drafted and reiterated that the student liaison would not be allowed to vote or sit in on closed-door executive sessions. of the board.
Early this year, a request to have the board allow a student representative was met with resistance; it did not go anywhere until a petition was presented and the request was forced onto the May ballot for residents to decide.
The board this week indicated a senior class member would likely be appointed to serve as a student representative at the board's Oct. 2 meeting. The student member will be a senior who is selected by the student government leadership in the high school and senior class officers. Two alternate members also will be selected in case the representative has a schedule conflict.
The board indicated Tuesday that it is looking forward to the student representative.
"Everybody is excited about it. We're looking forward to it," board member Nancy Wood said.
But a few edicts also were issued.
"It's not a day to air grievances when they come to the table and complain," said board President Janet MacGregor Plarr. "They will be dealing with districtwide policy and representing all students. It's not just a place to complain about Salisbury steak, cheeseburgers or early dismissal."
Plarr emphasized the need for the student liaison to follow the chain of command in the buildings to resolve issues that may not need to rise to the board level. She also said she wants students to be students first and not sacrifice activities for board meetings.
Others insisted a dress code be put in place, and Superintendent James Bodziak suggested that a board member act as a mentor for the student member.
Wood stressed that the student liaison should remember he or she will be representing the entire student body at Frontier.
New board member Thomas M. Best Jr. said it could be a good experience for the student member and for the board and district. "They want their voice to be heard. It can be a two-way street," he said.
In other action, the board, as part of its approval of a variety of consensus items, hired Dennis and Sue Lalka, brother and sister-in-law of board member Martin Lalka, under contract as S&D Lalka Corp., to provide five one-hour training sessions on healthy lifestyle choices to elementary and middle school students during the school year for a maximum yearly contract of $2,800. The firm would be paid $560 per session. Board member Martin Lalka abstained from voting.
Board member Jeremey Rosen also had to abstain on a different personnel resolution, when the board appointed his wife, Stacy, to serve as a lunch monitor at Big Tree Elementary School, a part-time position of 2½ hours a day for 10 months. Her hourly rate is $9.58, amounting to a yearly salary of $4,574.58.