sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Friday, May 13, 2005

I watched with interest the Guilford County Board of Education's debate on raising its compensation. I was also a bit surprised at the N&R's editorial reaction, which cut board members no slack:

"School board members may think they should be paid more, and they may be right. But they decided to run for the office despite the meager salary. They should accept that and turn their attention to more important funding issues. Raising their own pay won't improve education in Guilforde County one bit."

But in my mind, the majority of board members made their case for at least a slight increase in pay. I thought Kris Cooke's proposal was the most reasonable: $250 per month over the next two years. It's a gradual raise and yet still slightly less than what county commissioners earn.

The most compelling argument came from Dot Kearns, who pointed out that school board members, unlike the county commissioners, have no administrative support. There's no central office, no central phone line, no staff. Mind you, the county commissioners are busy men and women who, for the most part, are doing a lot of county business out of their places of business. But if they need it, the help's there.

The way I see it, everyone, and mean everyone, deserves somne sort of raise in pay over the last 12 years. I also think the concept of "getting what you pay for" also comes into play. Kearns made the comment that the task before board members is "one of the most critical in the nation." And while this is comparing apples to oranges to a certain extent, board chairman Alan Duncan, while suggesting a raise in pay for Terry Grier, said that the school superintendent's job is probably the most important in the county.

So who does hold a more important job, school board members or county commissioners? When answering this question, it helps to keep in mind that that the schools make up the majority of the county's budget. The way the county commissioners are acting these days (or is it every day?), it becomes a more difficult question.

Then again, the board could just cut the $500,000 in "anti-racism" training from Crossroads Ministries, and there wouldn't be a problem with raising the board's pay. Right?


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