Commissioner for a Day won’t be coming to a day anytime soon, the majority of the Barton County Commission agreed this week.
Commission Chairman Kirby Krier had promoted the return of the program, which encouraged each of the county’s high schools to select five students who would “shadow” commissioners for a day, learning about local government.
According to the plan from the county, “For several years, the county sponsored a Commissioner for a Day program for local high school seniors. Each high school in the county was asked to send five students on a selected day. Each group attended that day’s commission meeting, sat in on study sessions, toured offices and held a mock commission meeting.”
Krier said it was a mistake to have allowed the program to lapse and he was encouraging the county to renew it and to invite county schools to participate.
Commissioner Homer Kruckenberg said he remembered when he was a teacher that the program was a good one.
However, Commissioner Jennifer Schartz, who also works for USD 428, said she met with Superintendent of Schools Tom Vernon who told her the proposed program did not involve enough students to be productive and suggested, instead, that the commissioners should visit the schools, instead of the other way around.
She added the district is working to minimize times students are away from the schools, so they are not absent from testing schedules.
The suggestion was not popular with Commissioner Kruckenberg. “I thing that’s a pretty lame argument,” he commented.
Commissioner Kenny Schremmer said the program had always been open to only a small number of students, due to its very nature, and perhaps it would be a good idea for the commissioners to visit schools.
The proposal failed, with Schartz, Schremmer and Commissioner John Edmonds voting in opposition, while Krier and Kruckenberg were in favor.