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Bill ties local school board members’ pay to training requirements

Members of local school boards would receive at least $50 per month in compensation and could get up to $900 per month under a proposal in the Alabama Legislature.

But if members don’t complete training requirements, they won’t get paid at all, according to House Bill 57 by Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield.

Currently, not all local boards of education pay their members any salary. The $50 per month would be required under Estes’ bill but any increases above the current state cap of $600 per month would require approval by the local boards.

Estes, who served 15 years on the Winfield City Board of Education, told Alabama Daily News he recently was made aware of a situation where a south Alabama mayor wanted to be on an appointed local board.

That’s a problem, Estes said. His goal with this bill is to make all boards compensated.

“(Members) are not obligated to take it,” he said. “But by making it a compensated position, by definition, you could not hold two positions.”

The bill requires the compensation of members of local boards to be held in escrow if certain education and training requirements are not met. This compensation will remain in escrow until the member meets the requirements or leaves office.

“This would be a way to get them to catch up on the training that they need,” he said. “They can continue to serve and once they catch up on that classroom training, then they’re back where they need to be, and at that point, their monthly supplement is brought back up to speed.”

If a member never completes the training, the money reverts to the school system.

Estes said some board members don’t get the requisite training, even though it’s required by law, but it’s not a widespread issue.

“The overwhelming majority of school board members across the state do it extremely well because their hearts are in the right place,” he said. “They love the children in their community, and they want to serve. They want to make the schools even better than they already are. If they are struggling, they want to help their schools improve to create a positive learning environment and give each child in their community the best opportunity available to learn.”

A comment from the Alabama Association of School Boards was not available.

Board members could be paid more than $900 per month only if a local referendum were passed.


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