On July 6, Matthew Post, a senior at Sherwood High School, became the 40th Student Member of the Board. Before being elected as SMOB, he previously served as the chief of staff of the SMOB advisory council for two years, as well as the vice president of the Montgomery County Regional Student Government Association.The purpose of a student member of the board is to bring a knowledgeable student’s perspective into voting and discussing issues at meetings, in the end benefitting all students. SMOB is a great way for student’s concerns to be heard as it rightfully allows students to have a voice on the board.
Simply running for SMOB is very difficult. You must be an upcoming MCPS junior or senior and a resident of Montgomery County. Every MCPS middle or high school has to nominate the candidates. If there are three or more candidates, delegates elected from the SMOB candidate’s school vote in a SMOB nominating convention so that there are only two candidates left. All Montgomery County middle school and high school students then vote directly on the position.
SMOB candidates have limits regarding how much money they can spend on their campaigns. No candidate is allowed to accept more than $400 in donations and expenditures. A limit of $150 is set for contributions and donations before the nominating convention happens. It is mandatory for SMOB candidates to fill out preliminary and final financial reports. They can choose to submit an 1000 words or less electronic campaign brief to put on the MCPS websites.
A student member of the board is able to participate in any board discussions, and vote on many issues that the school board votes on, such as those affiliated with capital and operating budgets, collective bargaining, school closings, reopenings and boundaries. However, they cannot vote on negative personnel issues, meaning they can’t vote on issues that are related to questionable employees that work for MCPS. If elected as SMOB, they don’t get paid, but can instead earn a social studies credit, at least 250 student service learning hours and receive a $5000 college scholarship after they serve their term. So in the end, it’s a very rewarding position. All in all, despite the many obstacles you have to overcome to run for SMOB, there are many benefits, and it’s a great way to get involved in the MCPS community.
Students should absolutely have a seat on school boards because I think that it’s a great way for students voices to be heard about issues that they want to change in MCPS. The board is responsible for making any major changes to MCPS and, since all their changes will affect students, we should absolutely have a student member of the board . There are many benefits to being SMOB so if you want to run for next year, you should absolutely do it. SMOB is a great way to make an impact in your community, and if you’re passionate about it, then go for it.