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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

School Board Wants Higher Pay, Budget Crisis Looms

Posted By on Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 8:17 AM

Just shake it
  • Just shake it

San Francisco's education board wants to make more money for the job it does. And although it's not quite like UC executives who are demanding an increase in their budget-sucking pensions, it could come across as similarly unfair considering the school district is facing its own mind-boggling deficit of $113 million.

But here is the deal. A board member serving on the San Francisco Unified School District makes a measly $500 a month, not an hour like UC executives. That wasn't bad in 1972 when the city charter locked them into that wage. But currently, $500 a month isn't enough to cover a week of rent.

Meanwhile, other school districts around the state are making upwards of $1,500 per month.

Board members are proposing to make equivalent to what a first-year teacher brings in, a deal that would cost the district about $133,000 annually. On top of that, members want good benefits, including lifetime health care for any board member who serves for 20 years. It's up to the Board of Supervisors to put a charter amendment before voters.

On Thursday, a board committee is holding a special meeting to vote on whether a stripped down version of this proposal, with the salary increase but no lifetime health care goes on the ballot this year.

Jill Wynns, who has served on the Board of Education for 18 years, claims that most board members spend at minimum 20 hours a week prepping for

board meetings then attending the marathon meetings, as well as meeting

with parents, students, and teachers. It makes it difficult, if not impossible for some board members who have full time jobs to juggle it all.

But if they were fairly compensated for the amount of time they spend working, then the district could retain top-notch, dedicated board members, Wynns says.

Last week, Supervisor Sean Elsbernd pointed out that board members signed up for the job, knowing what they would get paid. So why ask for a raise now, when the education budget is so unstable?

"We agreed to do something that we knew wasn't going to pay much but that doesn't make it fair," Wynns told SF Weekly.  "This is a very small amount of our budget and it's a matter of fairness."

"Sean has lifetime health benefits from the city, and I don't believe that the Board of Supervisors work harder than we do," Wynns added.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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