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Budget panel brings students into the mix

When the North Colonie Central School District Budget Committee first met last year, its members were excited to get a closer look at the process in which administrators decide where money will go throughout the district.

This year, its new members will see firsthand how the allocation of money makes a difference in their own schooling.

As the budget season begins to pick up steam, this year's committee has added four students to the group, giving them the opportunity to understand some of the more painstaking decisions district administrators have to make when it comes to education.

According to Superintendent of Schools Randy Ehrenberg, the committee is made up of a broad range of people throughout the district: parents, PTA members, teachers and now students. Ehrenberg said she was inspired to have students join the committee after she learned of their interest when visiting a participation in government class at Shaker High School. She said the questions students asked her when she spoke of the budget were at times challenging for her to answer, showing that the students had an interest in the budget process.

The suggestion came from a student to have them on the committee," she said.

This is not the first time students have been involved in a committee that helps determine the fate of a district proposition. According to Board President Joan Hart, two students were on the committee that looked at the annexation of the Maplewood School District, which became a reality this past summer.

"I think adding the students to [this committee] will really add a lot to it," said Hart, who said the students are very conscious of everything that goes on within their school and in the district.

President of the Bought Hills PTA Dave Gaynor said having the students be a part of the committee will be an informative and exciting experience for all committee members.

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