BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County School Board members for the past two years have shared the dais with an elected, nonvoting student representative. But that arrangement is getting tweaked.
After consulting with top district administrators, new superintendent Lori Romano has decided to replace the single representative with a cast of representatives from each of the district's five high schools — each chosen by his or her school principal.
While the district is asking for each student to attend all meetings, the students would rotate the responsibility of being the official representative of students.
Students will begin Nov. 19 at the board's organizational meeting. They have not yet been named.
"The cabinet felt like there needed to be representatives from each of the high schools," said Romano. "They will be able to report out on the happenings at the schools."
The student representatives will no longer sit at the board dais. Whichever student is acting as the student representative would sit with the two assistant superintendents and receive mentoring and support.
Romano said the students also will be invited to the board's workshops.
She said the new arrangement will allow more students to gain experience by participating in meetings and workshops.
In May 2011, the School Board, at the recommendation of former superintendent Bryan Blavatt, approved a policy adding a nonvoting student representative to the board. The policy says the representative will be "selected from the high schools" and that the "superintendent shall create and manage a selection process."
For the first two years, the student representative was elected at the beginning of the school year by a districtwide contingent of delegates. The student sat with the board and was free to participate in discussions.
Former Springstead High student Tori Selby became the first representative during the 2011-12 school year. Sean Chapman, also a Springstead student, was the student representative last school year.
Selby, now a student at the University of Florida, said she will be interested to see how the new system works.
"I really enjoyed the old one because I felt like all the delegates from all the schools were involved in a democratic process," she said.
Selby, an active participant in workshop and meeting conversations, said she believed it might be difficult to synchronize student opinion on issues with five different representatives.
"They might not be able to centralize and meet and be able to have a very solid opinion at the meeting," she said.
School Board member Cynthia Moore said she liked the change and having representatives from all of the high schools.
Board Chairman Matt Foreman said he supported the system "as long as students have access to a representative to voice their concerns and make sure they're addressed."
Contact Danny Valentine at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.