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Bill passed to strip school board members of salaries

A powerful committee in the state Capitol this morning passed a bill stripping school board...
A powerful committee in the state Capitol this morning passed a bill stripping school board members of their salaries.(WBTV Graphic)
Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 3:23 PM CST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - A powerful committee in the state Capitol this morning passed a bill stripping school board members of their salaries. It was approved mainly on party lines and the 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. He 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,” said the freshman representative who has already been designated his classes Speaker Designate.

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

It’s practically a guarantee that average people that are neither wealthy or politicians will be able to run and serve,” said Leman, who also has an organization called 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,” said Representative Anna Eskamani.

Senator 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 said.

And 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,” said Gruters, who is also the chair of the Republican Party of Florida.

And what we are being told is 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 tell us salaries are important for people who will be managing million-dollar and billion-dollar budgets.