The Times has an article about the idea of paying School Board members of the largest districts (likely to be Seattle, Spokane and Tacoma) a real salary. This idea is being spearheaded by Rep. Reuven Carlyle and I agree with him.
"State Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, is trying to improve the job by
proposing members be paid what state legislators are, about $42,000
annually. Right now, they are eligible for $4,800 a year in
reimbursements and per diems."
You might recall my thread about the school board directors convention that happened in Seattle this summer. The idea of paying Board members came up at a press event there and was poohed-poohed by the panel at the event. That thought is echoed here:
If Carlyle’s bill passes, it could make Washington’s school boards
the highest paid in the nation, said Tom Alsbury, a professor in
educational leadership at Seattle Pacific University.
Alsbury, who studies school boards as director of a national research
organization, opposes paying board members. He said the job is designed
to be a thankless, volunteer position. While other elected jobs are
held disproportionately by wealthy people or lawyers, or dominated by
career politicians, school boards have remained examples of pure, messy
“People are serving because they believe they are helping the community and the school, not for any other reason,” he said.
I have to say that if the professor thinks that people run for school boards just out of the goodness of their hearts (and no other agendas), I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell him.
Here's my comment at the Times (and most comments are almost violently against this idea):
On the whole, I agree with Rep Carlyle. I think the salary stated is
too high (I'd make it about $25k).
I find it interesting that nearly everyone - including the Times -
complains about the School Board and yet, it's okay it's made up of only
volunteers who have the time AND can afford to work for free.
Kind of limits who might run, no? Are people with the time and the
money the BEST people to run or the ONLY people who can run?
Think about it - in Seattle, between the capital and operations
budget, that's over $1B. Don't you want more (and possibly better)
choices for who oversees that kind of public spending instead of nice