Bill Expands SMOB Power

By Rebecca Jackson, Circulation Manager

The Maryland House of Representatives recently passed House Bill 87, which will significantly expand the voting rights of the Student Member of the Board (SMOB) for Montgomery County. If passed in the Maryland Senate, this bill will be enacted July 1, increasing the SMOB’s voice and effectiveness in representing MCPS students.

Most counties in Maryland and the United States do not allow their SMOB to vote on many issues. However, If the Maryland bill passes, the SMOB will be able to vote on all matters, with the exception of collective bargaining, budgets, school closings, re-openings, boundaries and negative personnel issues. This is inclusive of bell times, the school calendar, policy changes, stances on legislation, resolutions and appeals.

“Currently, our student member of the board votes on most, but not all, issues that come before the full eight member Board of Education,” said Michael Durso, President of the Board of Education.

According to the current SMOB Eric Guerci, the SMOB receives the same information on issues as the adult board members. However, in order to fully represent MCPS students, he must be able to vote on the issues that affect their day-to-day lives.

Over the next couple of years, Durso said that the MCPS Board of Education hopes to pass full voting rights for the SMOB.