For the school board, by the school board


Graphic by Luke Weisbrod

Cassandra Carter

On Jan. 9, the IDS 834 School Board, in charge of decisions in the Stillwater schools, voted 6-1 to raise their own pay. This is the first pay raise the school board has taken since 1997.

 According the Oregon School Boards Association, (OSBA) School Boards are responsible for establishing budgets, setting goals, evaluating progress toward those goals and asking voters to approve bond measures and local option levies for facilities and operations. They also have to guide collective bargaining, choose transportation systems and evaluate the superintendent.

The problem here is not that the Stillwater School Board obtained a salary increase, but the fact that they gave itself a salary increase. In a system of checks and balances no one should have control over their own salary.

The vote raised each members pay by $350 each of the 6 people on the school board and $250 for the Chairperson. This was not received well by members of the Stillwater community because of the tax increase from the recently passed Levy.

On Nov. 5 2013, a bill was passed to raise the district’s budget by 5 percent from approximately $15.4 million to $16.2 million. This bill increased the taxes of each household by $66.93-$1338.46 depending on the worth of the home.

While a 5 percent raise for the school member pay would make sense because of the extra money in the budget, the school board hiked its pay by almost 8 percent.

This means that every year there will be $2,350 less annually in the budget. That cost would buy 1,566 white board markers, 1,821 notebooks or 28,211 pencils at OfficeMax which are all more important to student learning than increasing the salary of the school board.

If each school board member put in 10 hours a week for their three meetings a month, each member is being paid $9.13 per hour almost a full dollar higher than the average part time worker makes.

Before the pay raise the Stillwater School Board was ranked 10th out of 11 in salary in Northeast Metro Intermediate School 916, behind everyone except Forest Lake at $4,200. The highest ranked school board is the Mounds View School District, which is paid $6,500 per member. It was time to give this board a salary raise especially after all the work they did last year rearranging the boundaries, trying to keep as many children in the same school as possible.

According to the National Association of School Boards (NASB), “Your school board looks out for children – first and foremost. Education is not a line item in your school board’s budget – it is the only item.” Nothing is more important for the maintenance and growth of a community than education of the youth, and the school board is the group that encourages this the most.

Considering all these things, the school board is an important part of our community but the process of granting their own pay increase should be reevaluated.