Sumeyo Jama, Meshach Mandel, Julian Rohweder and Christopher Walker are the first student interns to serve on the Finance Advisory Committee for St. Louis Park Public Schools. In previous years, students have played a role in committee work, but when inspiration struck after seeing the work of the youth data analysts, the Finance Advisory Committee found a better way to center student voices.
“It is really important for us to have a diverse perspective. It is great to represent our whole community,” said Patricia Magnuson, director of business services.
In addition to the four new interns, the Finance Advisory Committee is made up of 20 community members. This team advises administration and the school board on economic and school finance issues and strives to build community trust. Members range in their expertise in finance, but each person comes together to move through the detailed process. The new student interns will be working in a collaborative effort to find both technical and adaptive solutions to questions surfaced by the committee.
Senior, Meshach Mandel, learned about the new internship program in his personal finance class. After learning about the opportunity, he wanted to find out more about how decisions are made. He also saw a way he could use his perspective to find meaningful solutions to better student experiences.
“I’m excited to influence the decision making process and to see what I could learn from this experience,” said Mandel.
After their first few meetings, the students have already set goals that will not only help them to learn more about finance and school procedures, but will strengthen skills that will help them for the rest of their lives. For up to five hours each week, the interns will continue to work towards their goals in meetings with the Business Office teamnuson and the committee.
During November the Finance Advisory Committee will begin to gather information in preparation for setting budget assumptions, and the insight and information gathered by interns will be used when reviewing enrollment projections, establishing fees and assessing fund balances.
“I wanted to know and see a little bit about how the school functions behind the scenes - the parts most students don't get to see,” Mandel continued.
The Finance Advisory Committee is in the early stages of the budget timeline, so there are still lots of opportunities for the interns to learn about levies, enrollment patterns and budgeting during the data gathering, preparation and approval stages.