Working as a school board member allows you to serve the public, give your community a better education system, and build name recognition, which can boost your chances of having a successful political career. However, working as a school board member usually does not pay the bills. In Texas, Pennsylvania and Colorado, state laws ban school districts from paying board members, and states including Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, Louisiana and Missouri pay only a $100 to $200 monthly stipend or per diem plus expenses. However, school board members in Florida, California, New York, Virginia, North Carolina, and Alabama receive salaries. In some states, you can earn as much as a full-time teacher. In other instances, the pay serves as more of a supplementary income.
In the Sunshine State, school board members receive an annual salary. The state determines how much members in each of the state's county-based districts may receive, but school boards have the option of deciding to pay themselves less than the state's approved amount. A county's population factors into salaries. In Broward and Palm Beach counties, school board members earned $42,455 in 2013, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. In 2013, the state approved 3 percent raises for all of the state's school board members. Florida's school board members serve four-year terms.
The Virginia Legislature authorizes the state's school boards to pay school board members annual salaries. For 2014, the legislature allowed salaries up to $25,000 per year. However, the state capped salaries at significantly lower amounts for school board members in certain counties. For example, school board members in Amherst County could receive only $2,200 for 2014. In Hanover County, the state capped salaries at $8,000 per year. State code allows the chair of a school board to receive an extra $2,000.
California state law allows school board members to earn monthly salaries. The state caps salaries based on how many students are in a particular district. Where average daily attendance for a district totals 400,000 or more, school board members in 2013 could earn up to $2,000 per month. Where daily attendance was more than 60,000 but less than 400,000, salaries were capped at $1,500 per month. School board members in the smallest districts received $60 per month. The state requires districts to dock board members a portion of their monthly pay when they fail to attend all of the board meetings.
Alabama state law allows school board members to earn salaries, but the law does not require it. In 2011, only 27 of the state's 68 city school systems paid board members, according to the AL.com website. In the remaining states, board members are limited in how much they may earn. According to news station WAFF, Huntsville School Board members earned $23,000 per year until an auditor discovered that their pay was more than state law allowed. Board members voted to cut their salaries to $15,564 beginning in November 2010.
School board members in New York can earn salaries. However, according to the "Democrat and Chronicle," a Rochester newspaper, most school board members in the state work as unpaid volunteers. The Rochester City Board of Education, however, paid its members $23,000 annual salaries in 2013. That was more than double the $5,000 that board members in Buffalo earned during the same year.
A 2013 bill proposed by a Washington state legislator called for the state's school board members to receive an annual salary. The bill did not pass. According to the "Seattle Times," school board members earned only about $4,800 per year in 2013. That income was paid as per diems for attending meetings and as reimbursement for expenses related to their duties. The bill proposed raising salaries to $42,000 per year to match those of the state's legislators. Washington state's school board members serve four-year terms.
- South Florida Sun-Sentinel: School Board Members to Get Raises
- Seattle Times: Wa. State Lawmakers Propose Pay for School Board Members
- Ohio School Boards Association: Board Member Compensation
- WAFF: Huntsville School Board Members Among Highest Paid in Alabama
- AL.com: Pay for Huntsville School Board Exceeded State Limit
- WXXI News: Rochester School Board Pay Could Be Lost in Mayoral Takeover
Based in Central Florida, Ron White has worked as professional journalist since 2001. He specializes in sports and business. White started his career as a sportswriter and later worked as associate editor for Maintenance Sales News and as the assistant editor for "The Observer," a daily newspaper based in New Smyrna Beach, Fla. White has written more than 2,000 news and sports stories for newspapers and websites. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University.