School Board poised for big pay hike |

School Board poised for big pay hike

Quadrupling pay for the Park City Board of Education could encourage more people to campaign for the nonpartisan elected posts, a longtime school board member said.

Park City School District Superintendent Ray Timothy suggested annual salaries should increase from $3,000 to about $12,000, according to School Board member David Chaplin.

"[Timothy] complimented us on the amount of time we spend working and the fact that compensation certainly wasn’t commensurate with the number of hours," Chaplin said regarding a discussion Tuesday about increasing the salaries. "There is gong to be a bit of turnover this term and maybe the time is right to open this discussion."

Chaplin is retiring and candidates in three out of four school races on the ballot Tuesday were unopposed, he explained.

"It could provide an opportunity for people from other walks of life, who would find the extra money very beneficial, to throw their hats in the ring," Chaplin said about the possible pay hike. "We might get a broader cross-section of potential candidates than we currently enjoy."

But the public may oppose raises, said Lisa Kirchenheiter, a member of the Park City School Board.

"I think the people who are on the board at this point feel that this is a form of community service and we are compensated with the same medical insurance that the teachers get," Kirchenheiter said. "The salary is not that great but the medical benefits are very generous."

Soon the School Board will schedule a public hearing to solicit feedback about proposed pay increases.

"At this point what we’re hoping to do is hear from the community, this is their money that could be spent. Do they want to spend it on School Board compensation or do they want to spend it on the students?" Kirchenheiter said. "I’m sure we’ll be hearing about it I’m sure some people think we’re overcompensated and some people, when they see the hours we put in, think that it’s fair."

School Board member Mike Boyle said he hasn’t decided whether to vote to raise the salaries.

"I’m anxious to hear what the county and School District employees may think of this," Boyle said. "I haven’t made a decision."

Paying each board member an additional $9,000 could instead almost cover the costs of a new teacher.

"Anytime there is money that is available we’ll figure out some way to spend it and that is my concern that it could be taking away from a program that could be provided for the students" Kirchenheiter said. "The question is will that attract a larger pool of candidates?"

More hours are required of board members in Park City than other school districts in the state, Chaplin said.

"The money that we receive as a paycheck is, as one of the board members put it, not really viewed by board members as salary but viewed as compensation for various expenses," Chaplin said.

The maximum annual salary for board members was $3,000 until the state Legislature changed the law so districts could decide their own amounts, Chaplin said.

"Some board members in other parts of the state spend much, much less time and are much less engaged in the educational process in their district than we are here," he said.

But several programs desired by board members lack funding, Chaplin lamented.

"There are a number of programs that we would like to institute. Would that money be appropriate for those kinds of things?" he asked.

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