SACRAMENTO – It all started with a desire, an idea, and a dedicated group of students. Seeing the absence of student representation on County and Charter School Boards of Education, students from all over the state of California got together and formed the basis of what is now Assembly Bill 824 — Student Board Member Expansion.
On Thursday September 2nd, that very same student-created bill, passed through its last committee and is, of now, on its way to Governor Newsome’s desk.
Assembly Bill 824 would allow high school pupils to serve on not only District but County and Charter School Governing Boards if they submit a petition containing signatures no less than 500 pupils regularly enrolled in high schools of the county or no less than 10 percent of the number of pupils enrolled in high schools of the county. These Student Board Members would have preferential voting rights,motioning powers (if adopted by the board), the right to be appointed to subcommittees, the right to attend each and all board meetings, a seat with the other members of the board, and access to all materials received by other board members
Under existing law, California student representatives currently serve in a capacity that does not encapsulate the scope of how the local education system affects students. Without a specified position allowing representation from a current student on a county and charter school level, these local education agencies will continue to go without adequate student representation. Actions executed at the county level are often not reviewed or given input by students. Evidence has shown that pupil input in education systems drastically improves the quality of education, and without expansion of student representation on these two local education agencies, the decisions made regarding specialized schooling, juvenile facilities, community schools, charter schools, etc will continue to suffer from insufficient student input.
The California Student Board Member Association, a student run non-profit and a sponsor of Assembly Bill 824, urged the Governor to sign this bill, effectively ensuring the largest group of constituents of our education system, students, are adequately represented at all educational levels. On September 8th, Governor Newsom did just that, signing AB 834 into law.