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School board seeks bump in meeting pay
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Effingham County school board members will ask the county’s legislative delegation to help push a pay bump through the General Assembly.

School board members voted 4-0 to request the Legislature increase their stipend from $100 per meeting to $300 per meeting and to $350 per meeting for the school board chairman. The compensation for Effingham school board members has not changed since 1987, BoE Chairman Lamar Allen said.

“We are the largest employers in the county,” he said. “The board feels it’s important we raise our meeting pay.”

But, Allen pointed out, school board members can’t vote to raise their own pay. Since a state statute sets their compensation, another law must pass through the General Assembly to adjust it.

“All we can do is vote on a proposal to send it to our representatives,” Allen said. “Then it’s up to them.”

Eddie Tomberlin, the 1st District board member who is not seeking re-election, backed the move to increase the board’s pay.

“I have nothing to gain from this,” he said. “But I have watched these folks work, and they work their behinds off. This is a small amount for what I see this board do day after day, month after month. I believe all of y’all deserve it.”

When the meeting stipend was set in 1987, gas was 95 cents a gallon and stamps cost 22 cents, Superintendent Randy Shearouse noted.

“We do have board members who take off from work and they lose vacation time or money to be here,” Shearouse added.

According to the Georgia School Boards Association, in figures published last year, Douglas County Board of Education members earn between $19,240 and $24,050 annually for their service. DeKalb County school board members earned $18,000 a year, including an additional $450 per meeting.

School board members in Bryan County receive $150 per meeting and Bulloch County members receive $100 per meeting. Liberty County members receive $128 per day per out of county meeting.

Savannah-Chatham County school board members, with a student population of approximately 35,000, receive an annual $12,000 salary. Walton County board members, over a student population of 13,300, receive $300 per month, and Newton County school board members receive $600 per month. Newton schools have an enrollment of nearly 19,000.

Board members in Burke County receive $600 per month, and board members in Coffee County receive $566.67 a month. Gwinnett County, with the state’s largest school system, pays board members $16,524 a year.