Future student members of Montgomery County's Board of Education won't be voting on some of the more controversial measures--including collective bargaining--anytime soon.
A bill that would amend the student member's rights to include a vote on collective bargaining, capital and operating budgets and school closings, openings and boundaries did not pass the state Senate Monday.
"It didn’t pass because a few Montgomery County senators didn’t want it to pass and they used all the tools at their legislative disposal," said Del. Anne Kaiser (D-Dist 14), the bill's co-sponsor.
After passing the House, the bill was put to a "special order," a measure that delays a vote, in the Senate.
The Gazette reports that one of the proposal's opponents, Sen. Brian E. Frosh (D-Dist 16) said he believed the issues were "too complicated and burdensome" for students.
According to the Gazette: “Eleven year olds, kids who are 12, 13, are going to be electing a 17-year-old, who is going to serve for one year, and then the next 17-year-old will take over,” Frosh said.
Sen. Delores G. Kelley (D-Dist. 10) of Randallstown told the Gazette she felt the Senate would “rue the day” it voted to allow children to put the burden of school board decisions onto other children.
Kaiser said the bill's opponents believe young people who don't pay taxes should not be allowed to elect a person with full voting rights.
"That really smacks of a poll tax," she said. "Really? You have to pay taxes to vote?
"It’s also true that plenty of these youngsters do pay taxes, even if they don’t pay that much."
The bill was supported by the Montgomery County Education Association and the school board.
"They have been impressed over the years with the young adults who have served with them and are willing to support them having a greater say and a greater vote on some very big issues," Kaiser said about board of education members.
"They’ve seen it and they know best."
Currently, Alan Xie, a senior at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, serves as the board's student member. He told the Gazette that he would support the legislation again next year, but Kaiser, who has sponsored similar bills for the past three years, isn't so certain.
"I don't know yet," she told Patch. "Certainly those same senators would play those same games next year. Even though majority rules, they use legislative games at their disposal that would not allow this.
"We may try a scaled-down version to see if that’s more accepted next time around," Kaiser continued.
What do you think: Should student members vote on collective bargaining, capital and operating budgets and school closings, openings and boundaries? Tell us in the comments.