House moves closer to scrapping school board salaries, giving parents voice in curriculum

by | Feb 1, 2022

 

A bill that would eliminate salaries for school board members and increase scrutiny of the way public-school instructional materials and library books are chosen is now primed for consideration by the full House. The measure (HB 1467) is largely centered on increasing parents’ involvement in the selection of books and other learning materials.

The bill requires that any committees convened for the purpose of “ranking, eliminating, or selecting” instructional materials must also include parents. The House Appropriations Committee on Monday signed off on the proposal after adding some tweaks.

An amendment adopted by the committee made clear that the part of the bill dealing with scrapping board members’ salaries would apply to members who are newly elected or re-elected on or after Aug. 1, 2022.

“The intent is to make sure that when members decide to run for the position, they know up front what the situation is with salaries,” Rep. Sam Garrison, a Fleming Island Republican who sponsored the bill, said.

The amendment also would allow board members who wouldn’t receive salaries to receive “reimbursements” of up to $200 for each meeting they attend, up to a maximum of $4,800 per year. Democrats on the panel bristled at capping board members’ yearly compensation at less than $5,000.

“We can’t throw money at problems, but we obviously can pay someone a living wage. And I don’t believe that what we’re offering to pay someone in the amendment is a living wage for the amount of meetings (they) have,” Rep. Matt Willhite, D-Wellington, said.

But Garrison disagreed.

“I would take issue with the notion of talking about this salary, such as it is, as being a living wage. It’s not designed to be. It’s about public service,” he said.

The Florida School Boards Association opposes the bill. Danielle Thomas, a lobbyist with the association, said the proposal would create “great inequalities” for school board members across the state and would favor “the elite” who could afford to work for no salary.

“School board members in Florida have chosen to take on the responsibility of overseeing the education, safety and well-being of our most precious gift — our children,” Thomas said.

A similar Senate bill (SB 1300) needs approval from the Rules Committee before it can go to the floor. The Senate measure aims to make school board members’ salaries equal to the yearly pay of state legislators. Lawmakers make $29,697 per year.

5 Comments

  1. Deborah Coffey

    What’s next? Getting rid of the Department of Education, too? Sure, it’s a good way to keep the Republican base more stupid than it already is.

    Reply
    • Nita Peltier

      Absolutely, finally someone understand the role of the federal and state governments, yes! get rid of the Unconstitutional Federal Department of Education! let’s get back to smaller federal government, and take back the State’s Rights, if you need more knowledge, a good start would be with a Florida Educational as KrisAnne Hall, e.g., FLCA Constitutional Series: KrisAnne Hall https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkO1FZ5KPH8

      Reply
    • Gary Monahan

      Department of Education should be shut down, started by demorcats in 70’s education has going down to 30th in the world from 1st

      Reply
      • Deborah Coffey

        Bad information. The United States was NEVER 1st in the world in education. That is another right wing lie.

        Reply

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