Lawmaker proposes pay for school board members
Legislation that could be debated next year would allow the state’s school board members to be paid for their work.
Rep. Joe Webster, D-Mongtomery, is proposing more mandated training for school board members in House Bill 2898, tuition-free enrollment at Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education for courses related to school board work in House Bill 2897 and allowing board members to receive the same pay as municipal officials where a school district is located in House Bill 2900. All three bills have been referred to the House Education Committee. It’s unlikely the bill will be discussed before the end of the 2022 session since the Senate has only seven days of session remaining and the House of Representatives has only six session days remaining. That means Webster will have to reintroduce the bills next year.
Webster’s legislative memorandum for House Bill 2898 draws a comparison to the training required to become a teacher in Pennsylvania and the training required to be a school board member. He proposes training to include topics like instruction, financial management and operations adjusted over time by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Training requirements would extend to charter schools. The bill would also bring Pennsylvania’s training requirements for board members closer to those of other neighboring states, Webster wrote. Webster also is introducing a bill that would allow school board members to enroll tuition-free at any institution within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education in specified courses that have a connection to their role and responsibilities as school board members.
“The better informed our school board members are in their decision making,” Webster said, “the more they can ensure our schools are providing the best education possible – while being fiscally sound.”
House Bill 2900 would remove the state’s prohibition on pay for school board members and setting that salary to be the same as local municipal boards in a municipality where the school district is located.
“Public service is the same whether you are elected to a school board or a local municipality, and it is time we establish parity between the two,” Webster wrote in his legislative memorandum. “That is why I am introducing legislation that would repeal the prohibition of compensation for school board members and allow each board to decide whether members can be paid.”