School board pay could increase
Dismal turnout in November of people willing to campaign for seats on the Park City School Board showed salaries for board members should increase, Superintendent Ray Timothy said.
Annual compensation for board members could jump from $3,000 to perhaps $12,000.
"This board makes decisions over a $68 million-plus budget," Timothy said. "It’s a huge amount of money and the responsibility is tremendous."
Some board members work on district business nearly 20 hours per week, he said.
"I feel like we’re going to reach the point where, for the amount of time that people put in, that the average person would no longer be able to afford to run for a public position such as the school board," Timothy said. "The way the current system is structured, I feel like, yes, for $3,000 that would negatively impact many people from wanting to serve."
But board members wouldn’t likely raise the issue themselves and risk appearing self serving, he said.
"I think they need to consider what future impact it may have on encouraging people to run and serve on the board," Timothy said. "The natural instinct kicks in for most board members that they want to put every penny toward students that they can."
The association that represents Park City School District teachers supports wage hikes for board members, he explained.
"I feel like $3,000 for all of the work and energy and time they put in, is way under compensation," Timothy said. "It’s not ever going to be compensating them for the time they put in, but I don’t feel like it should be a negative financial impact on a family."
Nobody spoke against salary hikes at a public hearing in November.
But Park City Councilman Roger Harlan spoke in favor of increasing board compensation.
"[Harlan] basically said that he felt like the board compensation was way too little," Timothy said.
Still, quadrupling pay for board members could take money from other under-funded district programs.
"Their desire to serve students is very strong," Timothy said.
But board members attend more than just two monthly meetings in Park City, he stressed.
"They are putting in tons of hours in those positions. They’re on multiple subcommittees and they’re attending statewide meetings," Timothy said. "We go out to sites where other programs are being implemented successfully It’s the time element, they’re either taking personal leave, taking vacation days or going without pay on those leaves."
The Utah Legislature began allowing members of school boards to set their own salaries last year. School board members in Park City could decide whether to increase their salaries this month.
"I can’t predict where the board will go with this," Timothy said.
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