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School board could collect paycheck

The South Kitsap School District Board of Directors will decide on Monday whether or not to allow incoming board members to receive compensation for the time and effort they spend serving the Board.

The new policy would use “locally collected excess levy funds” to pay board members up to $50 per day on days when they attend meetings and events to compensate members who may have to miss work, hire childcare or drive long distances.

Board members would be allocated a maximum of $4,800 per member per year, or a total of $24,000 per year for the entire board.

Even if the motion is passed, board members are not required to take the money. Individuals may waive “all or any portion of his/her compensation by a written waiver filed by the district.”

According to District Superintendent Bev Cheney, the idea of compensation for board members was originally broached by member Chris Lemke.

“It might encourage more people to consider running for the board,” Cheney said. “It’s in the law and it’s available, and we didn’t have it.”

According to the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), districts can provide compensation for school board members to “ensure for the sake of educational excellence, that the electorate has the broadest possible field in which to choose qualified candidates for its school boards; (to) ensure that the opportunity to serve on school boards be open to all, regardless of financial circumstances; (and to) ensure that time-consuming and demanding service as directors not be limited to those able or willing to make substantial personal and financial sacrifices” (28A.343.400).”

Cheney said the school levy voters passed in February made no mention of using the money to compensate school board members because the subject had not yet come up.

She said it will be put into future levy plans.

“(The new policy) only applies to our three newly-elected board members,” Cheney said — Robert Bunker, Chuck Mayhew and Kathryn Simpson.

Current board members Keith Garton and Patty Henderson will not be allowed to collect the monies because it might influence their vote on the matter Monday.

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