Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Reader asked if Md school board members get a salary. They do.Delaware school board members don't.

From a Maryland online newspaper:
The Herald-Mail
Annapolis Notes
School board members salaries could be raised
The Maryland General Assembly is considering a bill that would raise the salaries of members of the Washington County Board of Education.
The House of Delegates Ways and Means Committee heard the bill last week. No action was taken.
The bill, which is sponsored by the Washington County delegation to the General Assembly, would raise the annual salary for the school board president to $6,200 from $5,600.
School board members would receive $6,100 — a raise from the current salary of $5,500.
The pay raises would not take effect until all of the current terms of office expire.


Connie Merlet, a former Christina School District board member, explains the pay situation for Delaware board members-they don't get a salary:

"In Delaware there is no pay. Most districts pay for members to go to conferences, although all have different policies on how and whether they are going to pay for those. There's the National conference every April and districts usually send one to 5 members. It's expensive ($2000/ board member) so it depends on how much money the district has available. There are smaller conferences too, and boards vote on whether they can afford it. Most boards set an amount into the budget each year. But no pay.Other states. Lots of other states have boards that get paid. Usually the big southern consolidated districts. Some pay a marginal amount- like $5000 so members can take time off from their regular job for daytime board duties (in Christina we used to plan groundbreakings and stuff for 5 pm because every board member when I was on the board worked), others get paid real money- one of the mid-west board members I talked to- Illinois, maybe?- got like $38,000! "

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Part 1-Election Survey Responses In From 2008 Md School Board Candidates

I received 21 responses to the 92 emails sent. Taking into account nine were returned as undeliverable, that is better than a 25% response from email surveys received by Maryland school board candidates.

While there was not a total consensus, there was widespread agreement among the participants of several points.

The two questions that had the most consensus were #3 and #4.

(3) Do you feel voters in school board elections should be required to be registered voters? If they are not in your county, can you explain how this is facilitated in the voting booth ?

18 said yes -voters should be registered voters to be able to vote in a school board election.

2 indicated they were unsure since they had never participated in a school board election in which unregistered people could vote .

One did not answer this particular question.

(4) Can you explain any benefits you can see from holding school board elections on the same day as the general election?

Some gave multiple answers, so there are more than 21 given.

17 stated the advantage is higher turnout. 5 stated the advantage is a cost saving to the public due to not having to hold a seperate election. One person did not answer this question.

(5)Can you explain any disadvantages you see from holding school board elections on the same day as the general election?

8 stated they saw no disadvantage.

9 raised the issue that offices that far down the ballot get ignored which results in voter dropoff at the bottom of the ballot and "random" voting ( for example, picking a candidate by which column their name is in or based solely on name recognition).

1 person raised the potential problem of voter ignorance and 1 other raised the potential of straight ticket voting when voters know the affiliation of nonpartisan school board candidates and vote for the nonpartisan candidate who is of their own party and may even be endorsed by partisan candidates of their own party.

It could be due to the wording of questions 1 & 2 or the complexity of the issues raised by questions 1 & 2, but several of the responses were more nuanced than just "yes" or "no". I will continue to review the answers and I plan to post again on this survey by week's end.