Oswego village trustees consider adding students to advisory commissions

New Oswego Village President Ryan Kauffman makes a few remarks after being sworn into office Tuesday.

Oswego village trustees are considering whether to add students to the village’s advisory commissions.

Oswego Village President Ryan Kauffman had previously asked staff to lead a discussion about adding student members to the Cultural Arts, Economic Development and Historic Preservation advisory commissions.

“This gets kids involved.”

—  Oswego Village President Ryan Kauffman

While the students named to each commission would be expected to actively participate, they would not vote on agenda items. Oswego Village Administrator Dan Di Santo recently talked about the idea with Oswego SD308 Superintendent Andalib Khelghati.

“He was a fan of the idea,” Di Santo said. “This is something the School District has done on their board, having student members involved.”

Kauffman was happy to hear that.

“This furthers our collaboration with the school district,” he said. “This gets kids involved. It increases our involvement with the community at large. I just think it’s a win-win all the way around.”

Village trustee Karin McCarthy-Lange suggested the village get a recommendation from a teacher or staff member as to what students should be named to a commission.

“Teachers work with these students every day,” she said. “They know who is going to be committed to doing something like this and they know what their area of interest is. Having a student that has a recommendation would help them be more successful or the program be more successful.”

Students would have to attend at least 75% of the meetings and be Oswego residents. Village trustee Jennifer Jones Sinnott said she thought it would be good to also have students from both high schools shadow different staff members.

Jones Sinnott noted that Oswego assistant village administrator Jean Bueche grew up in the village. In addition, village trustee Andrew Torres is an Oswego High School graduate.

“I think that would really engage and spark some excitement for those kids to come in and do that,” she said. “I just think it would be so cool to have that collaboration.”

Di Santo said the village previously had such a program in the past. Kauffman said he would like to see the village try something like that again along with having students added to advisory commissions.

“Let’s do both,” he said.

Trustees are expected to discuss the issue again at a future meeting.