Three students from Sandy's Park Lane Elementary School have learned firsthand what it takes to be a Salt Lake County commissioner and to handle tough budget decisions.

Alan Jay Averill, Amy Johnson and Cannon Williams, all sixth-graders, were the first to be chosen "Commissioner for a Day" as part of a new program.The three, chosen for writing the best essays on how county government affects daily life, spent most of a day attending meetings with the real commissioners. Averill conducted the morning commission meeting and the others took turns reading items into the record.

Later, they held a mock budget session and wrestled with how to cut $60,000 from the animal services budget. By the end of the day, all three said they had learned a lot about county government.

"I didn't know hardly anything about what the county did before this," Johnson said.