Idylwild Elementary School in Alachua County. (WUFT News/Summer Jarro)
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School Boards: A Part-Time Job With Full-Time Duties?

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This story is a part of Untold Florida, a WUFT News series built from your questions. Robert Janson, an audience member, asked us, “How much are school board members paid? How does that compare with teachers? Do they receive benefits?”

Her job calls for a range of activities – from coordinating with legislators to watching the hog show at the community fair.

Jane Crawford, representing District 5 on the Putnam County School Board, knows what it takes to work as a school board member.

Crawford said the two main jobs of school board members are to set policy and handle the budget for the school district.

“But there’s so many other kinds of things that individual board members do,” she added.

From fielding complaints from parents to attending workshops, meetings, and school graduations, North Central Florida school board members stay busy.

The main part of the job of school board members is to work with legislators, but the extent to which board members personally work with them varies slightly by county.

Certain counties, like Hernando County, have designated legislative liaisons, said Susan Duval, who represents the fifth district on the Hernando County School Board.

Marion County School Board Member Beth McCall, who represents District 2, said she and her fellow board members meet with legislators to share ideas from constituents.

“We let them know what we don’t like and why, and in the end, they make final decisions,” McCall noted.

Twenty-six of Florida’s 67 county school boards appoint their superintendents; the remaining 41 school districts elect theirs.

Alachua County school superintendent Karen Clarke said her job is to run the day-to-day operations of the school district and work at an advisory level with legislators.

The biggest challenge of the job right now is school safety, Clarke added, because children cannot learn if they do not feel safe in school.

“It’s important we make sure we are doing everything we can to keep our children safe,” Clarke said.

How much do school board members get paid?

School board members are paid a salary based on a formula involving countywide population ranges and base salaries. The salaries of school board members vary by county and are adjusted annually.

Lafayette County school board members receive the lowest salary in the state at $25,413. Broward, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Okeechobee and Palm Beach counties have the highest salaries at $44, 443, according to The Florida Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research.

Since 2009, school board members have had the option to voluntarily reduce their salaries.

Eileen Roy, Alachua County school board member who represents the 2nd District, said she lowered her salary in recent years when the recession hit.

“But now that things are getting back to normal, I keep my salary at what the state board recommends,” she added.

“People do not serve as school board members to make money, I can tell you that,” said Becky Raulerson, Union County school board member for District 4.
Raulerson said school board members serve because they have a heart for kids and the community.

“At the end of the day, you say, how does this help our students,” she said. “And that’s how you finally come to peace with whatever decision you make is if you put the students first.”

This story emerged from an audience question. Submit your curiosities for Untold Florida, and we’ll find the answer. Preference is given to those who include their first name and city.

About Ellie Drabik

Ellie is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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