Lamar Allen doesn’t serve on the Effingham County Board of Education for the money, but he wouldn’t mind receiving a bit more.
At the conclusion of Wednesday’s BoE meeting, Allen floated the idea to increase Effingham school board members’ pay from the current $100 per meeting.
“It’s just something I want us to start looking at,” said Allen, the chairman of the school board.
The Effingham County Board of Education meets once a month in July and December and twice during each of the other 10 months. Under the current pay scale, the five school board members are paid $2,200 each, a combined $11,000, for those 22 meetings.
Allen pointed out that the pay for Effingham board of education members has not increased “since the ’80s.” He added that the school board has the same salary as local government boards “who have less responsibilities than we do.”
“Every board in this county makes $100 a meeting,” Allen said. “We have (nearly) a $100 million budget, we have 1,500-plus employees with 10,000, 11,000 kids they’re responsible for, all the hours that are put in (by school board members in addition to regularly-scheduled meetings) … I think it’s time that the board look at doing something with these salaries.”
Allen did not propose a specific raise to BoE salaries. A raise to $200 per meeting would increase school board salaries to $4,400 each or $22,000 total, and an increase to $300 would amount to $6,600 each, or $33,000 total.
“What it would be for five people for a year would not even be what it would be for a beginning teacher’s salary,” Allen said. “I’m not talking about very much. I’m not talking about county commissioners’ salaries, which are $15,000-$20,000 a year, and they don’t have near the budget and amount of people we’re responsible for.”
Any raise for the board of education would have to be approved first by the board itself. Effingham’s legislative delegation of Sen. Jack Hill and Reps. Bill Hitchens and Jon Burns then would have to agree to introduce it to the state legislature for approval.
A local school board’s vote for a pay raise does not have to be unanimous. However, Allen hopes all his fellow members will support it.
“I don’t know if our legislators would agree to it if it’s not unanimous,” Allen said.
No board member commented after Allen brought up the idea at Wednesday’s meeting, and he said Monday he had not received feedback on it.
BoE budget hearing
The Effingham County Board of Education will approve its fiscal year 2014 budget and millage rate at its meeting on June 20 at 7 p.m. The public is welcome to attend and comment on the proposed budget.