School Board Business

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Another group of newly elected officials were sworn in today.

The Bay District School Board welcomed in new members.

However, they wasted no time getting down to business.

The Bay County School Board welcomed newcomers Pat Sabiston and Ginger Littleton, and returning Board Member Donna Allen Tuesday.

The group chose Allen as the new chairman and John McFatter as vice chair.

Then the group jumped into a busy agenda. The first order of business: setting their own salary.

Florida’s school boards are the only constitutional bodies that set their members pay rate.

And, even though board members are allowed to decide how much they make, some say it actually makes them feel uncomfortable.

"Of course it's awkward,” says Allen. “Because you would think every constitutional officer would have the same luxury of not having to do that, but we do, so you just do it."

There wasn't much debate on the figures.

Johnny Brock of the Bay District School Board said, "I feel like we need to leave the salary where it is at this time and not increase it for the board."

The rest of the board agreed and left the board member's salaries at $30,194 dollars a year, a bit lower than a first year teacher's starting salary.

Newly elected Board Member Ginger Littleton is facing her first controversy.

She wants to keep her job as assistant principal at Bay Haven Charter School, but she asked the State Ethics Commission for an advisory opinion to determine if it's a conflict of interest.

The commission staff believes it could be a conflict. The full Ethics Commission will render an opinion.

Either way, Littleton says she'll do what's necessary. "I have chosen to remain a board member,” she says. “I think that serving the students in the district is an honor and I'm going to fulfill that to the best of my ability.”

The Ethics Commission is expected to rule on Littleton’s issue at its next meeting on December 1st.