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Shoreham voters to get student board member proposal

Voters will decide in May whether the Shoreham-Wading River school district’s board of education should open a spot for an ex-officio student member.

Billed as a learning opportunity for the district’s high school students, the board last week passed the resolution to allow a student to serve as an ex-officio member. If voters approve the resolution in May, the board will then choose a high school senior to sit in on meetings and contribute to conversations.

The student will not be privy to executive sessions and will not be able to vote, said district superintendent Steven Cohen, adding that having a student member would help inform the board about student concerns.

Board president Bill McGrath said the board also hoped having a student ex-officio member would drive more parents to attend board meetings.

“Having a student on the board, even if they don’t actively participate in the decision-making process, they’re still aware of how things work,” McGrath said. “And also they can heads-up the students to things that might matter.”

Since the state passed a law in the early 2000s allowing students to serve as ex-officio members on district boards, several Long Island districts have taken such action, said Lorraine Deller, executive director of the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association. While the number of districts doing so is not tracked, she said, the practice is not widespread.

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