The D.C. Board of Education voted last night to provide its student board member up to $4,000 annually in expense and stipend funds, asserting that the money was necessary to make the position more attractive and less of a financial strain.
Tanya T. Turner, a 17-year-old Anacostia Senior High School student, has the right to make comments at regular meetings as the board's first student member, but cannot vote. Before the decision last night, there was no provision for reimbursing her for board-related expenses.
"It costs her to come to these meetings [and] it would be unfair to treat student board members as second-class citizens and not pay for their expenses," said board member R. David Hall (Ward 2).
"In the future, we don't want to lose students as board candidates because of a choice between serving on the board or getting a job. This gives them something extra," said board member John Warren (Ward 6).
Turner will receive $50 for each board meeting she attends and be reimbursed for travel costs that are board-related, according to the plan adopted last night. It is not unusual in this area for student board members to receive expense and travel money. Last year, for example, Montgomery County's student board member was reimbursed $2,668 for expenses, school officials said.
In other action last night, the board unanimously approved a pilot program to cost between $3,000 to $4,000 to teach selected city high school students comprehensive debating techniques. The program will be operated by Georgetown University's Philodemic Debating Society and will involve 50 to 60 students in the spring semester of the current school year, said Bradley Ziff, Georgetown's assistant director of debate.
The board also approved a shift of $369,500 in funds in the current budget to help pay 47 new aides to monitor attendance at the city's secondary schools.