A proposed constitutional amendment aimed at eliminating salaries for county school board members was approved by a House panel Thursday, with opponents warning it could make boards less diverse. But without a companion bill making it through the Senate, the matter may be moot again this year.
The measure (HJR 1461), which was approved in a 10-7 vote by the House Early Learning & Elementary Education Subcommittee, would place a proposed constitutional amendment on the 2022 ballot. Sponsor Sam Garrison, R-Fleming Island, told the panel that nixing pay for school boards would “take the politics out of our school boards.”
But Rep. Angie Nixon, D-Jacksonville, and other opponents argued that diversity on the boards would be threatened by making the positions unpaid. “This will lead to an elitist system. It is going to drive out folks who have the most at stake in the educational system,” Nixon said.
Florida school board members are paid an average of $35,995 annually and receive roughly $10,800 in benefits, according to a House staff analysis. Legislators are paid about $30,000 a year. The House proposal needs approval from the Education and Employment Committee before it could go before the full House.
The Senate does not have a similar proposal. For a constitutional-amendment proposal to be placed on the ballot b y the legislature, a 60 percent majority of each chamber must agree to do so in a joint resolution.
–News Service of Florida