school board, baltimore

17-Year-Old Rising Senior Set To Become Baltimore’s 1st Student Board Member To Vote On $2.6B Budget

A high school student will decide how Baltimore County’s School Board allocates its two billion-dollar budget.

The Baltimore Banner reported that Parkville High School senior Kayla Drummond will get to vote on the school board’s $2.6 billion budget. Drummond is the county’s student board member for 2023.

Her vote will mark the first time a student board member is permitted to vote on the county’s budget.

“I’m just excited to be the first person to be able to do that … and kind of help figure out like the small details of it and just help improve it, make it more realistic and better equipped to help more Baltimore County students,” Drummond said, according to the outlet. 

The 17-year-old wants the voices of students to be heard. “Our opinions and beliefs and things should be valued especially because we are the school system, we are the students,” Drummond said.

Only some people are on board with the idea. The outlet noted that Julie Henn, a board member, said in a Facebook post that voting on the budget was a lot of pressure for one student.

“What is even more disturbing is the amount of pressure this decision-making authority would undoubtedly unleash from multiple directions on the student Board member,” she said.

Others think age is just a number. Eric Ebersole shared his opinion in favor of the student’s voting rights. As the bill’s sponsor, Ebersole believes students on the board are more than capable of deciding how the budget is allocated.

He responded to critics by telling The Baltimore Banner, “Just because you don’t think your next-door neighbor isn’t qualified to be president, it doesn’t mean nobody is qualified to be president.”

Four of the 24 counties in Maryland—Baltimore, Baltimore City, Montgomery, and Anne Arundel—permit student board members to vote on budgets.