SA promises big changes in 2013

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A few weeks ago, four students were elected to lead Student Alliance. The positions of President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer were determined by the student body’s votes. These elected officials along with all the other members of Student Alliance (SA) run our school’s student government and provide a voice for the student body that would otherwise be left unheard.

Current President, Selena Kowalski, described the President’s role as “first and foremost the head of the board. In this role, I work with the other three officers to plan the schedule for the board, make sure the members of the board are on task and also make sure that the board is heading in the right direction. I also have the duty of being the link between the administration and the board. If an administration member needs to talk to us about something, they usually come to me.”

Jeff Salvadore is the current Vice-President and his job to “organize our constituency advisery visits and Open Advisery forums and coordinate SA officer and board elections.”

Eleanor Grubb who is the current Secretary, has the  job to oversee a variety of things, including but not limited to taking minutes, or a summary, of every formal Student Alliance meeting and taking attendance every single day.

The current Treasurer, Ozakh Ahmed, stated that her purpose is to “to be a positive role model, maintain our accounts, create a budget for the board’s activities, record deposits and withdrawals, collect receipts, organize and chair Budget Day, and make allotment decisions after Budget Day.”

If a SA board member wants to hold a position of office, they first have to get a petition signed by fifty students. If more than two members are fighting for the same position, a primary is held between all SA members. After that the top two – but in this year’s case for the vice-president spot, the top three – members are elected by the student body in a general election. The candidate that receives over fifty percent of the votes then becomes officer.

If no candidate receives fifty percent, in the cases of three-way elections, then the top two members with the most votes enter a tiebreaker. The tiebreaker consists of another election between those top two members. The winner is determined by the final election.

SA Board members get a vote too. Under the SA constitution, the entire board receives an extra vote that is equal to twenty-five percent of the popular vote. That twenty-five percent is then split evenly among the board members.

Zach Urisman, a SA member displeased by that policy, said, “I feel that the process of electing our officers is flawed. The students get their vote, and it certainly counts, but on top of that every single Student Alliance member gets an additional vote equivalent to that of 25 students. It’s unfair, undemocratic and I strongly support reducing that weight.”

To back up Urisman, an anonymous source close to SA said, “The entire margin of the SA vote did swing an election from one candidate to another.” Which race was not stated and the specific numbers of this year’s elections will not be released until the board member selection of next year.

Kowalski disagrees, stating that it makes sense because the there are no options, such as assemblies or speeches, for the candidates to reach out to more of the student body. “It makes sense that the people who work beside the candidates every day would get a more weighted voted,” she said.

Ozakh wants SA to be made up of those who care about student advocacy more than just having it on college applications. “Part of that is campaigning on the candidate’s part, but part of that is students taking time to understand those who they are voting for,” she said and then added, “This is all mirrored in real politics, too. The right to vote is one that many have fought for and it’s a huge privilege..”

The election, however, is finished. Next year’s officers have been determined.

The SA President-elect is the current Vice-President, Jeff Salvadore. This year he has been very involved with “streamlining the club creation process and the student-teacher feedback system.” As for next year Salvadore, among other things, hopes to specifically, “have a successful All School Seminar day and continue to move forward on the student feedback project.”

The Vice-President-elect is Harry Conkey. His goals for next year, besides filling his duties include “continuing certain projects from this year such as adding a personal comments section to report cards and advocating for a policy that includes 9th period clubs receiving academic credit.”

Will Holz is the Secretary-elect, filling the shoes of Eleanor Grubb. Holz was unable to be reached for comment. Helen Ding is the Treasurer-elect and will fulfill all the duties that the Treasurer has.

Student Alliance did a lot of work to make sure the All School Seminar takes place next year. They were given $80,000 dollars from the capital expenditures fund to renovate the Small Cafeteria. They are currently working with interior design classes for that project.

Another project is their “nuisance project” where they visit each room to make sure they have a flag, stapler, hole-punch and pencil sharpener. Other projects include moving forward with online grades, student-teacher feedback and evaluating the new food system.

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