Bill would make Lowndes BOE pay second highest in state

Published 10:04 pm Friday, April 7, 2017

By Fred Guarino | The Lowndes Signal

A bill recently advertised in The Lowndes Signal that will be introduced in the 2017 regular session of the Legislature of Alabama would raise the pay of Lowndes County School Board members from $600 to $1,000 per month or second highest in the state if passed.

Approval of the advertisement of the bill by the board was confirmed by Lowndes County School Superintendent Dr. Daniel Boyd and State Sen. Hank Sanders confirmed that he will be a sponsor of the bill.

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The resulting change of pay would be from $7,200 to $12,000 per year for the five-member board serving a seven-school system of approximately 1,500 students.

Dana Vandiver, director of public relations for the Alabama Association of School Boards confirmed that the increase to $1,000 per month would rank Lowndes County second highest in pay in the state. She said the board’s current pay of $600 is in line with dozens of school systems in the state.

According to the Alabama Association of School Boards, the only school board members in the state who would be make more than those of Lowndes County would be those of the Huntsville City Board of Education, who make $1,147 per month.

Sanders said the bill “hasn’t passed the Legislature yet.” But he said of the bill, “I will be a sponsor.”

And Boyd confirmed board members in Lowndes County are currently paid $600 per month for 12 months.

When asked his thoughts on the bill, Boyd said, “I think the board members work a large number of hours. And I feel $600 (per month) is too low for board members.”

He said, “board members have work sessions. They meet at least once a month. Sometimes we meet more than once a month depending on the issues that are going on. In addition to that the board members provide direction for the school district. They’re responsible for approving all contracts. They also approve hiring and terminations in the district.”

Boyd continued, “They also deal with things outside the board meetings. A lot of times they communicate with parents if there is an issue or a problem that parents have in the community… The board member sort of provides that bridge between the community and the schools and the central office.”

While Boyd could not say how many specific hours a board member works, he noted the pay for board members was less than that for Lowndes County Commission members.

The Signal Contacted County Administrator Jackie Thomas, who said commissioners are paid $1,963.15 per month or $23,557.80.

The Lowndes County School Board includes Ben Davis, president, Steve Foster, vice-president, Donald Carter Jr., Robert Grant and Travis Rogers.

The act to increase the pay of school board members will become “effective immediately upon its passage and approval by the governor or otherwise becoming law.” The pay increase would be effective the first month following passage of a resolution by the school board.

The last date of publication of the legal advertising the bill in the Signal was March 30, 2017.