Should school board members be paid?

SEATTLE - It’s time to pay School Board members and stop having them serve as volunteers.  That’s the proposal being pushed by State Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle).  “It is unreasonable to expect people to have all of that knowledge and then be full time volunteers on top,” Carlyle said.  “It’s a bridge too far.”

Carlyle wants to change state law to allow pay for School Board members, starting with the biggest District in Seattle.   He’s proposing a salary equivalent to the state legislators, who are paid around $42,000/year for what is considered a part time job.  “They manage over $1 billion of operating and capital budgets,” he said of Seattle’s 7-member board.  “They’ve got a fiduciary responsibility that’s unbelievably difficult.”

Carlyle believes that professionalizing the School Board in terms of pay will attract better people.  “Don’t we deserve a higher quality education system for our 50,000 kids,” Carlyle asks.  “That means starting at the top and going all the way.  We can’t demand that our kids and our teachers improve their quality, and not improve the quality of our management as well.”