We thought it was apropos that the county commissioners last week avoided being suckers for the school board.
School board members ducked their own decision-making last year, allowing the superintendent and his financial officer to “slip into” the 2020-2021 proposed budget a sweetheart increase in pay for school board members.
The recommended pay for school board members was hiked from $100 per month to $300 per month.
School board members never actually voted to include the raise – nor did anyone make a motion to take it out.
So, they just forwarded the whole ball of wax to the commissioners, with the assumption that the commissioners would go along with the built-in largesse.
The county cut its annual appropriations to ABSS and other outside agencies for the current fiscal year, citing uncertainty about the revenue forecast due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Fortunately, the commissioners decided this time not to let the raise just roll on through.
While school board members apparently are not required to take any explicit action on their own pay, the commissioners are.
And commissioners were understandably reluctant to take the grief from taxpayers for rewarding school board members – particularly, dare we say, when the public is all the more fed up with the school board’s current dawdling over getting students back in school.
So, apparently the state of play is that the “raise” for school board members will have to go through the spring budget process again.
We certainly hope that new school board members (three of the seven were just elected in 2020) will oppose the increase that their predecessors allowed to go through undercover.
In a very informal online poll that we conducted after the commissioners declined to endorse the pay raise, about two-thirds of respondents to an admittedly unscientific poll said that school board members shouldn’t be paid anything at all – not $100, the old rate of pay, much less $300, the proposed rate.
Somehow the idea that they should give themselves a raise in the midst of a pandemic – and without actually meeting in person for almost a year – seems especially inappropriate. Add to it any combination of other measures or assessments of academic quality, success, or excellence, and it is all the more outrageous to consider a pay raise for school board members.