Broward School Board Members Give Students A Chance To Ask For Changes

Oct 13, 2017

It was an unusual night at South Plantation High School Thursday. Plenty of kids stayed late for football practice and club meetings, but some also stayed for the chance to ask their superintendent to make changes in their education. 

Robert Runcie, superintendent of Broward County Schools,  and Laurie Rich Levinson, school board member for District 6, were on deck at a student-run forum to explain how they make decisions.

Student government leaders moderated, while students asked serious and silly questions, from "Where does the funding for the magnet program come from and how can we get more?" to "Who is your favorite rapper?" (Rich Levinson said that hers is Drake.)

Sophomore Sephorah Hyppolite was one of the 50 or so students who came to the forum that's a part of the school board speaker series called Next Gen Engage. 

"It's important to me to hear what they have to say," she said. "There are some problems in school and stuff that they have to fix. I hope that they can fix us getting a lot of testing...when you have to test it's like you don't really learn anything because you have to go and test."

Hyppolite's classmate, 15-year old Erica Charles, came for a different reason. Her mom encouraged her. 

"My mom was telling me that I need to work on my GPA and work on what I want to do and find out what I want for college. She was like, "This is a good time for you to ask questions, find out what you can do to better yourself and get ready to go to college,"' Charles said.

Runcie said this type of forum in which students can lead discussions about their education is important for how he makes decisions in the future. 

"I recently thought, 'Hey, you know what? There's a very important voice that I'm not getting as much that I'd like to be of offer to, and that's students,'" he said. 

The student-run forum, Runcie says, makes it the students' own. He hopes to be able to continue to hear from students this way.