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School board salary change awaits Crist

Gov. Charlie Crist has just a few days left to act on dozens of bills, including a barely-noticed education bill, SB 2092, that repeals a controversial law that was pushed through by House Republicans in 2002. During a special session dedicated to a new school code, Republicans, including former Rep. Ralph Arza, pushed through a requirement that school board members must set their own salaries in a public meeting. This was a compromise over initial House proposals to do away with school board salaries altogether.

But Rep. Joe Pickens, a Palatka Republican and one-time attorney for the Putnam County School Board, tacked on an amendment in the waning days of the 2007 session to change school board salaries back to a formula that pays board members based on population.

Pickens said it was wrong that school board members are the only constitutional officers required to publicly vote on their own salaries, while others have their automatically adjusted according to a state formula.

"There is absolutely no reason for school board members to be the only constitutional officers to decide what their salaries are,'' said Pickens.


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As I am sure that the writer is aware, there are about a dozen other issues included in the bill. While the writer assigned the original requirement for school boards to set their own salaries to Rep. Ralph Arza, it was really Rep. Jerry Melvin that pushed the issue when he tried to eliminate salaries for school boards altogether. The bill (SB 2092) is a good bill that is worthy of the Governor's signature.

Don Trew

Been teaching 30 years and have often heard board members bemoan the fact that their forced to take raises...even in tough times...it's mandated by the state. Wish the state would mandate my raise. In all they times they were forced, I never once heard of a board member donating back to the district. Yet on many occasions when teachers have received merit, pay votes were held against teachers protest to give half the merit pay to the district. A friend whose a college coach in Minnesota also sits on the local school board. A few years ago when pay for board members was discussed his opinion was the board should be tied to a percentage system based on position. The higher the position the higher the pay. He also proposed that board members could never make more then 1.5% less then the lowest paid full time employee, have a starting salary, but be eligible for raises based on whether they were re-elected. This assured equitable distribution of funds. Board members couldn't continue to get raises unless the first boosted the salaries of the Districts full time employees. I realize your article is old but with the passing of the amendment to help the poor Real Estate agents whose 6 & 7 figure salaries are in jeopardy it should be revisited.

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