Medina welcomes student on Board of Education

Photos by Tom Rivers: Alissa Blount, Medina’s student representative on the Board of Education, is pictured outside Medina High School. The BOE has an ex-officio student member for the first time this school year.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 January 2019 at 10:50 am

MEDINA – The Medina Board of Education for the first time has a student representative, who gives a monthly report and weighs in on topics from a student perspective.

District residents during the May 15 school vote last year approved, 259-75, to have a student on the Board of Education, without voting privileges. The student isn’t allowed in executive session where the board discusses personnel and litigation. Medina will have a student on a trial basis for two years, and then can extend it after that.

Alissa Blount, the High School Student Association president, was picked by the district to serve as the first student representative on the BOE. Cora Payne, a senior and the FFA president, is an alternate for meetings when Blount is unable to attend.

David Sevenski, the BOE president, welcomes having a student sitting at the table with the board during the monthly meetings.

“We’re trying to get more information about what’s going on in the schools,” Sevenski said.

He has encouraged board members to be an active presence at the school, from taking tours during the school day to attending many after-school events.

Cora Payne, an alternate student rep on the Board of Education, speaks during a Dec. 18 BOE meeting. Marc Graff, the district’s business administrator, listens to her comments.

Mark Kruzynski, the district superintendent, also pushed for a student rep on the board. Medina is the first district in Orleans County with a student on the board.

“It’s a natural way to get a student focus,” Kruzynski said.

Payne filled in for Blount at the Dec. 18 BOE meeting. She gave an update about holiday concerts, the FFA citrus sale and some other activities. She urged board members to attend concerts, sporting events and other school programs. She encouraged them “to be more visible” at the school.

Payne plans to major in journalism and political science at Boston University. She attended a meeting last year about a change in the school’s policy for tardiness. That initially raised her interest in the Board of Education and school policy.

She praised the district for having a student on the BOE.

“I appreciate that they valued my opinion,” she said.

Alissa Blount has only missed one meeting so far this school year. She gives a report each month, and also extends an invitation for the BOE to go to school activities.

Blount is also a member of the FFA. She spoke about the FFA’s model farm on the school campus during a recent meeting. That prompted other board members to request a tour of the farm, and Blount was happy to oblige.

Most of the board meetings are about 45 to 90 minutes. Blount said it has been interesting to see the decision-making process, and how the board and administration wrestle with so many details in discussing policies.

“It takes a lot longer to get things passed,” she said.

Blount plans to major in nursing with a minor in Spanish at Daemen College near Buffalo. She said she is feeling more comfortable at the board meetings as she learns more about the district’s inner-workings.

She said she would like to help mentor next year’s student representative so that student can join the board with a better understanding of how the board functions and some background on the issues.

“It’s been really positive so far and it will build in the future,” Blount said.

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