Florida committee passes bill stripping school board members of salaries

WEAR TV | By Capitol News | January 20, 2022

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Powerful committee in the state Capitol Thursday morning passed a bill stripping school board members of their salaries. It was approved mainly on party lines, and legislation isn’t the only effort to change how school boards operate.

School board salaries vary by county and are based on population. This school year, they range from just under $27,000 to as much as 47,000.

“The purpose of this bill is to try to make the education of our children better” State Representative Sam Garrison told the committee.

Garrison is leading the charge to end school board salaries.

“We want to structure the way we do these sorts of things to where we are having parents incentivized to be in these positions, engaged in their schools. We want parental involvement in schools. Period,” Garrison said.

Marie-Claire Leman is a mother of three who worries average people won’t serve.

“It’s a practically a guarantee that average people that are neither wealthy or politicians will be able to run and serve” Leman said, who also has an organization Fund Education Now.

Democrats in general voted no.

“These are folks that I want to take their jobs seriously. They are in charge of our kids safety” Representative Anna Eskamani said.

There are also efforts to impose term limits. And another bill would require partisan labels.

Sen. Dennis Baxley is behind term limits. He believes the COVID experience opened eyes.

“It opened up the door for parents to know a lot more about what was going on in education, and not going on in the education of their children” Baxley told Capitol News.

Senator Joe Gruters says it is dishonest for candidates to run without a party label.

“You should have, shine a light on where people are on the issues and the easiest way is to have people run with partisan designation” Gruters said, who is also the chair of the Republican Party of Florida.

Capitol News is being told that meetings on all three bills are being held to sort out which if any of the concepts can find enough traction to pass.

The Florida School Boards Association did not speak at Thursday’s hearing, but they did say salaries are important for people who will be managing million dollar and billion dollar budgets.

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