schools.jpgThe San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted today to put a measure on the June ballot that would allow members of the school district’s Board of Education to receive a pay raise.

Supervisors voted 8-3 in favor of the measure, which would amend the city charter to allow the Board of Education to set the level of compensation for its members, as long as it does not exceed $25,000, which is one-half the annual salary of a first-year public school teacher in the city.

Board of Education members are currently paid $500 per month.

Supervisor Jane Kim, who served on the San Francisco Unified School District’s Board of Education for four years–including as president in 2010 before being elected supervisor–co-sponsored the proposal, which she said more properly compensates what is a nearly full-time job.

Kim said board meetings “alone run six, seven hours apiece, and you have three or four a week,” on top of visits to schools, parent-teacher association meetings and other events.

She said the current $500 a month number was set in the early 1980s.

Supervisor Scott Wiener said it is “a very modest measure, especially when adjusted for inflation,” and pointed out that it does not officially increase compensation for the school board, but simply gives the school district the power to do so.

Supervisors Sean Elsbernd, Mark Farrell and Carmen Chu voted against the proposal.

Farrell said it was “the wrong time to be bringing this up,” given the district’s budget deficit, and that it could lead to a “slippery slope” where other elected or appointed officials could call for increased pay as well.

Elsbernd said, “We have to recognize these folks are volunteers,” and said there’s never a shortage of candidates for the positions despite the relatively low pay.

Kim pointed out the proposal “has been in discussion for many, many years” and said that opponents “don’t think any year will be the right year.”

Other proponents of the measure, including supervisors David Campos and Malia Cohen, argued that increasing the compensation will create a more diverse field of candidates who might be willing to serve on the board.

“Especially in these tough financial times … members of the board need this money to make ends meet,” Campos said.

The measure, which would also establish training and professional development requirements for board members, will go before city voters in June if the California Legislature approves a proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown to create a special election addressing the state’s budget deficit.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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