So, Paul is trying to modify school board members’ terms from 5 to 3 years and pay them $100 per meeting.
Yeah, that didn’t go so well, check out these two amendments:
Here’s the letter I sent when it was introduced:
YOUNG JOHN Fri 5/3/2019 10:11 AMTo:
- Baumbach, Paul
- Viola, John;
- Sokola, David;
- Townsend, Bryan;
- Jaques, Jr, Earl;
- Williams, Kimberly;
- CSD Board Members;
- Bolden, Stephaniet;
- Lynn, Sean M;
- Matthews, Sean;
- Heffernan, Debra;
- Kowalko, John;
- Osienski, Edward;
- Johnson, Kendra;
- Briggsking, Ruth;
- Chukwuocha, Nnamdi;
- Hensley, Kevin S;
- Collins, Rich G;
- Postles, Charles;
- Ramone, Michael;
- Shupe, Bryan;
- Smith, Michael;
- Bunting Susan;
- John Marinucci <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Honorable Paul S. Baumbach,
I have read with great interest your bill (HB 134) filed 2 May 2019. I have some comments, concerns, and suggestions.
First, on the issue of three year terms I fully agree that 5 is too long; however, I feel three is too short. There is time needed to understand the laws governing education in Delaware and all of their trappings and failings (Ex. school funding and class size waiver as two examples of items Dover continues to fail to resolve in favor of the children they serve). Understanding those complexities is an important part of being an effective school board member and having an election cycle occur after a second year could significantly modify focus and energy away from students unnecessarily.
I feel 4 years is a good compromise position.
Next, I believe that as elected officials in specifically non-partisan races we derive significant independence from being unpaid. It allows us the freedom to vote independently from monied interests. Making the DOE a monied interest via transfer payments to board members, no matter how nominal, when we are subject to their regulations is a dangerous idea from a policy-making standpoint. It could create unintended consequence and conflict of interest concerns. I ardently stand behind the idea that we should remain unpaid.
Additionally, as written your bill does not delineate whether or not charter boards are included. Previous unrelated legislation includes them as school board members (Ex. required to record and post audio of meetings). Since your bill does not contain a fiscal note while proposing to spend money, I am uncertain if you have factored this into your budgeting responsibility as a representative. This bill, if it DOES NOT include charter board would cost approximately:
19 (Districts)*6 (average members per board statewide)*$100*12 meetings per year = $136,800
Now if charter boards are included that number could double or more. Also, is it your intent to gross up the payment to ensure there are no net taxable implications? Failure to do so could cause inequity in how much money makes it to each member in reality. If gross up occurs the number grows even more steeply.
I suggest a fiscal note.
Continuing, the language proposed in § 1052 (e), that reads “Each member shall be compensated $100 for each meeting attended, including regular and special meetings as outlined in § 1048 of this subchapter, by the Department of Education. This compensation may not exceed more than $100 per month per member.” is clumsy. To “not exceed more than” would suggest a number more than $100 is OK as long as you do not exceed that number.
I suggest striking “more than”.
Lastly, as worded this bill if passed could encourage boards to hold an additional special meeting to accommodate board members who missed the regular meeting so they can qualify for the stipend when I believe that is not the intent of the bill.
I would strike “special meetings”.
I look forward to HB 134 becoming a bill that can serve districts and students.
Thank you for your effort to make school boards in Delaware better for our students, parents, and taxpayers.
John M.YoungChristina School Board Member
It’s like I wrote the bill as amended myself. You’re welcome, Paul.