Proposed term limits for school board members

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - Three proposals moving through the Constitutional Revision Commission are looking to make major changes to how local school districts are governed.

The first would set term limits for local school board members. Currently, board members serve as long as they keep getting elected.

Commissioner Erika Donalds wants members capped at two four-year terms.

"I think term limits allow for people to remember the public they're there to represent as opposed to becoming part of the system that they're elected to," said Commissioner Donalds.

Florida School Boards Association Executive Director Andrea Messina says school board members have a higher turnover rate than other elected positions with term limits, about 41 percent since 2010.

"I'm not sure what problem this proposal is trying to solve," said Messina.

A second proposal by Donalds would take away school board salaries.

On average, the positions pay about $34,000 a year, with an additional $19,500 in benefits. The state would save $19.3 million annually by making the positions unpaid.

School boards say the pay allows residents from all socioeconomic backgrounds to run for office.

The proposal to make district superintendents appointed instead of elected is supported by the fact 26 Florida counties already appoint their superintendents. Florida is also one of only five states that elects superintendents.