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City of Rome seeking to partner with Rome City Schools for youth council program

Wednesday, Apr. 12, 2023–8:38 a.m.

-John Bailey, Rome News-Tribune-

Kelly Parker, assistant to the city manager, first presented ideas for a youth council in late 2022. (Photo: David Crowder, Rome News-Tribune)

The proposal for a Rome youth council, to give local teens a voice in the city government, may initially model itself after a student advisory council in the Rome school system.

Looking at the Superintendent Advisory Council at Rome High School and Rome Middle School as a model, the city is hoping to energize youth participation in local decisions.

“In the initial stages this gives us a good foundation to work off of,” Kelly Parker, assistant to the city manager, told the General Administration Committee on Tuesday. “This is just the starting phase and may morph into larger projects.”

The RCS youth council was designed to give students a direct link to the superintendent and have a voice in the school decision-making process. Superintendent Eric Holland said Tuesday that he proposed the city’s idea to students in his program and within 30 minutes had 10 students who said they would like to participate.

“I’m really excited about it,” Holland told the committee.

Commissioner Randy Quick, who is on the General Administration Committee, made a motion to pursue a partnership with the city school system, and the committee chair, Commissioner Bill Collins, seconded that motion, which passed.

“I think it would be a wonderful partnership to explore offerings for a student youth council,” Quick said.

The idea of a youth council initially arose as an idea to include teens in local decision-making regarding things to do in the city. After a large brawl at the Town Green in August 2021, the commission doubled down on the idea.

A task force was formed in late 2021, but only got so far. Since then the idea of a program to specifically involve teens in the decision-making process has remained on the back burner.

Recently, Parker began seeking information on programs available in other cities and came upon the RCS student council. She presented those findings earlier this year to the committee.