Sam Garrison bill targets school board members’ pay

Florida Politics | by A. G. Gancarski | March 1, 2021

Could Florida voters choose not to pay school board members?

Serving on a local or county school board may come without monetary compensation soon if a House bill filed last week passes.

HJR 1461, filed Friday by Clay County Republican Rep. Sam Garrison, would “reform district school board compensation” by giving voters the chance to amend the Florida Constitution to end the practice of paying board members no later than the year 2030.

Any such changes would require 60% plus one voter to approve the changes.

Garrison, in his first term in the Florida House, sees the change as timely, necessary, and in the spirit of servant leadership.

“I come from a family of educators and greatly appreciate the work that Florida’s school board members do every day working with our parents, teachers and administrators to set policies and budgets for our schools. Our school boards play a critical role in creating safe, healthy and educationally-enriching environments for our kids. As the past year has demonstrated, the very best school board members also serve out of a sense of calling and personal passion for their community, not political advancement,” Garrison contended.

“To maintain this high standard, the legislation I’m filing today would remove any financial motivation for serving on a local school board by amending the constitution to phase out salaries for current school board members by 2030. New school board members elected on or after 2022 would serve without compensation from day one. This would bring Florida into alignment with the majority of states nationwide and ensure our school boards attract servant leaders, not politicians,” Garrison added.

The contemplated provisions would apply to “newly elected members of a district school board elected on or after November 8, 2022, and to members of a district school board reelected on or after November 8, 2022, with at least eight years of consecutive service,” according to bill language.

The proposed amendment’s title on a future ballot would be “Prohibition on compensation for members of a district.”

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