School board salaries eliminated under Senate proposal

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School board members would not be allowed to receive a regular salary, instead getting per diem pay that would be capped at $100 per meeting under a proposal in the Senate, reports Lilly Rockwell of the News Service of Florida. – Lawmakers will consider a measure (SB 7234) on Tuesday pushed by Sen. Stephen Wise, R-Jacksonville, that eliminates a formula in state law used to pay school board members based on the size of the school districts. Critics say it is another attack on public schools by the Republican-dominated Legislature, but proponents argue it? a way of shifting dollars spent on board member salaries to fund classroom necessities. Under the proposal, school board members would be paid $100 per meeting, with a cap of $2,400 per year. Travel expenses would also be reimbursed. – Current law sets a minimum salary between $5,000 and $10,000 for school board members, but all school board members now make far more than that, with the amount differing depending on the county? population. Last school year, the average salary of a school board member was $30,850, according to a state survey. The lowest pay was $22,300 in Liberty County and the highest was $39,000 in Broward County. – ?e will be opposing that proposal because it? singling out one group of constitutionally elected officers who are part time and not singling out other constitutional officers and we think it? not fair to do that,?said Florida School Boards Association Executive Director Wayne Blanton. He said school districts are working closely with the state and Legislature on contentious issues regarding class size changes, the new teacher pay reforms and budget cuts. ?e are doing all of that,?Blanton said. ?? not sure where this is coming from.?Blanton said Florida has uniquely large school districts. – There are 67 school districts in Florida because they are organized by counties. Other states, such as Texas, have over 1,000 districts, Blanton said. This is the second year Wise has promoted a bill to slash school board pay. ?et me say this and I hope it? printed,?Wise said Monday. ?e are number one in something in Florida ?salaries of school board members.?- Legislative staff analysis of the bill cites a National School Boards Association study from 2007 that lists Florida as the only state which sets in law that school board members are paid as elected officials. The survey notes that stipends vary widely and that in New York City board members earned $15,000 in 2007. ?he average school board member salary in the United States is $100 a meeting,?Wise said. ? just went with the average?ome of them don? get paid at all.?Wise said by paying school board members less, more dollars could be contributed toward the classroom. Florida school districts spend $10.9 million on board member salaries a year, according to the Department of Education. If the measure ultimately passes, only $900,000 would be spent on board member pay. There is no similar House proposal, though Wise said ?here are ways to do it,?without a House version.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.