The St. Michael-Albertville school board addressed school board member compensation at their re-organization meeting earlier this month, and they determined that compensation should increase $100 for each position. This means all board members will receive a raise of $100 per year, and additional $100 raises for those holding the positions of chair, treasurer and clerk.
Superintendent Dr. Ann-Marie Foucault said the board last voted to raise their compensation two years ago, and board chair Drew Scherber said he felt an every-other-year assessment of compensation seemed prudent.
School board members received $3,600 per year in compensation last year. Chair receives an additional $800, treasurer receives an additional $200, clerk receives an additional $600 and negotiation committee members receive $400 per year.
Compensation for board members across the metro area varies widely, and it can be difficult to compare since different schools use different compensation methods such as paying by meeting or paying more for longer meetings. In the local area, Elk River’s school district pays its chair $6,900 per year and $6,000 for all other positions. Monticello’s rates are just under $3,400 per year for all positions, with a $5 per month rate increase requested for this year. Buffalo compensates board members $2,640 per year, with the chair and clerk each receiving $10 additional per month.
Other compensation amounts include: $4,500 per year (Edina), $5,400-$6,600 per year (Princeton) and $4,320-$5,100 (Wayzata).
Board Member Comments
“If people want to run for school district, they’re not going to run for the money because they’ll go broke,” said Scherber, who proposed the increase. “But I think it opens it up to more candidates, and I think any time you have more candidates on a ballot it’s a good thing. I think people should be compensated for their time.”
Scherber pointed out that some current or future school board members may need to hire babysitters to attend meetings as another reason for the rate increase.
Board member Hollee Saville was the only school board member to speak out against the pay raises, saying she felt some of other school districts’ compensation amounts are way higher than they should be. She expressed an interest in paying members per meeting they attend versus giving an across-the-board raise.
Scherber replied that he’s not interested in keeping track of which meetings board members attend and dealing with varying payments.
In addition to school board meetings, members attend a variety of meetings for different committees they serve on. Some committees meet monthly and some less often. Examples of different committees include negotiation meetings for different union staff groups, the Wright Technical Center board, joint powers hockey board, different advisory committees and the legislative committee, among others.
All board members did agree that serving on the school board means committing a significant amount of time to the job, and a couple members said they felt the additional $100 per year would not constitute a significant increase or burden on the school district. The board voted for the increase 5-1, with Saville voting against.