Bill that would eliminate school board salaries advances

Messina school chalk board
The bill is one of a number seeking to rearrange school governance and procedures.

A proposal that would turn all the state’s school board members into volunteers and require all library materials be publicly reviewed and listed online received approval at its first stop in front of the Education & Employment Committee Thursday.

The measure (HB 1467) passed largely along party lines with Democrats opposed, and is one of a few bills taking aim at school policies this Session. It comes on the heels of some school boards’ dramatic rebellion against Gov. Ron DeSantis’ edict last fall that students cannot be required to wear masks at school to stop the spread of COVID-19. Another proposal (SJR 244), would make school board races partisan.

Republican Rep. Sam Garrison said he’s trying to get the politics out of school board service and increase parental involvement.

“It’s about parents and not politicians … we want to make sure our schools are focused on parental engagement and parental involvement,” he said.

The legislation is “eliminating the financial incentive for politicians who want to use this as an opportunity, either a launching pad to a political career or maybe a landing pad to get a salary,” Garrison said.

A National School Board 2018 study found that 61% of school board members across the country did not receive a salary. Some committee members, however, were concerned that Florida’s school districts are often mammoth operations with complex finances. And eliminating school board salaries would limit the job to the wealthy, who don’t have to work outside the home.

“School board members are there after 1 or 2 in the morning — they have a very big responsibility,” said Democratic Rep. Patrcia Hawkins-Williams. “They vote on the budget which can be billions of dollars … They are in charge of the safety of our children.”

Republican Rep. Randy Fine said that there are about 10 Florida school boards where things “have come off the rails over the last year.”

“… And (they have) done exactly what Rep. Garrison talked about which is put politics before their students, before their parents,” he said. “That’s why their meetings are going until 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning. It’s because they are doing things that parents don’t like.”

The bill would also require school districts to list all library and instructional materials in use to be reviewed by a committee and subject to public inspection.

“If an individual who lives in Maine wants to fly down to Clay County because he or she really cares about knowing what’s going on in the curriculum, they have the ability to come and observe,” Garrison said.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected]


10 comments

  • tom palmer

    January 20, 2022 at 6:43 pm

    First the Republicans want to murder School Board members and now they want to cut their pay.

  • Ellen Floriani

    January 20, 2022 at 7:17 pm

    Non-parents of public school students, and many who don’t even live in the district attend these meetings to cause trouble. They publish talking points to get others to join them and read them at the meetings; many who read these things don’t even understand the terms they’re using. These are the least educated among us, relying on far-right Internet sites for their “facts,” and want to censor the materials that are used to educate our children, to make sure they’re as uninformed as the rabble-rousers.

    • Ron Ogden

      January 20, 2022 at 8:00 pm

      Scratch a liberal and get an egotist, one who enjoys taking every opportunity to look waaay down her nose at the “least educated people among us”, the ones whom living in America compels her to put up with. You see social engineers like her with their statistics and their peer reviewers behind every little dais in America, self-contented, sure of themselves, and certain that no one who dares criticize them is actually qualified to criticize them.

      • tom palmer

        January 21, 2022 at 1:55 am

        There is a big difference between parents who have legitimate concerns about how schools are run and the quality of the curriculum and deserve to be heard and jerks who just want to act out. This legislation seems to encourage the latter.

      • Mother Superior Windshield Wipers, Bishop Ronco School for the Blindfolded

        January 22, 2022 at 1:34 pm

        Scratch Ron Ogden and you get dried up old bullshit under your fingernails, bless his bloodless heart.
        Who is “self-contented, sure of themselves, and certain that no one who dares criticize them is actually qualified to criticize them”? Why, tis thee, Ronnie.

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    January 21, 2022 at 7:59 am

    Anyone who has looked at school boards and how much money they have, how they spend it, the positions they create would understand that eliminating salaries might be a first step. But a commission needs to be created to look at the the lobbyists, the board members looking for a higher position, those who have taken money and gotten caught. IVBE has been working for education reform since 1990. It’s an uphill battle fighting the unions, the lobbyists, the administrators, the money. Major reform is sorely needed

  • just a comment

    January 22, 2022 at 8:58 am

    on the bright side they could sell your butt all over the internet be protected and make a lot of money funneling and when it is all over and you can not print money shut the grid off.run by organized crime. get a out of country bank dems like that the most. break into accounts just your on the list emails for sale at spooko.com and if you are looking for a date and need clean we have that too

    • Jenna

      January 22, 2022 at 9:16 am

      l just g0t pald over 140 D0IIars per hour w0rking from h0me. I never thought l’d be capable to do lt but my best buddy gets 0ver 19585 D0IIars a m0nth d0ing this and she c0nvinced me t0 try.

      For DetaiIs……. 𝗕𝗹𝗶𝗽𝗜𝗻𝘀𝘁𝗮𝟭.𝘀𝘂𝗿𝗴𝗲.𝘀𝗵

  • Ocean Joe

    January 23, 2022 at 6:32 am

    1. The stepping stone argument: what’s wrong with a place where those who want to be in politics can start off, get experience, and then run for county commission, or something higher?
    We see people get themselves appointed to zoning boards who do this all the time. You can’t rely on a sponsor to appoint you, you have to go out and campaign for a school board seat, your campaign will reveal your positions as opposed to being an appointed lackey based on party affiliation.
    2. The salary argument: there are more than a few school board members who could not afford to expend the necessary time, so eliminating the salary ($10k-39k) also eliminates a segment of our population from running. There is way too much money in politics already, that stops normal citizens from having a chance.
    3. The school boards have gone off the rails argument:: off the rails according to whom? Some school districts required masks, doing so for the safety of children and staff. Do we abandon democracy when we don’t like a decision?
    This bill goes hand in glove with Gruter’s effort to make these races partisan: the GOP has found a field they cannot control, so they hope to replace any Dems or NPAs with obedient puppets.
    What I see is constant centralization of power in the hands of the governor, which means less local input by the public.

    • tom palmer

      January 23, 2022 at 8:00 pm

      I covered local government for 40,years;,I do not recall

      I covered local politics for 40years. I do not recall SB members using the position to advance their ambitions. This is more GOP uber alles.

Comments are closed.


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