Fearing voters will not support giving politicians a huge pay increase, advocates of a proposed ballot measure are ditching a plan to compensate members of the San Francisco Unified School District’s Board of Education with a full-time salary and pension.
Instead, proponents are floating a scaled-back version of the ballot measure that will still increase pay for school board members, but not by as much as originally planned.
The original proposal made last fall by former Supervisor Bevan Dufty would have given school board members a $50,000 annual salary and the ability to participate in The City’s pension and retirement fund. At last week’s Rules Committee meeting, though, the salary was reduced to $25,000 and the ability for members to buy into the retirement fund was removed.
“Given the financial situation in the district and the uncertainty in the state budget, $25,000 seemed more reasonable to ask voters,” Dufty said.
That salary would still be a significant raise for elected school officials, who currently make $6,000 a year.
School board members “put a lot of effort in their position,” Dufty said. “It’s reasonable to provide some compensation.”
The school district currently faces a $113 million deficit. The revised proposal being considered by the Rules Committee would require The City to foot the bill for school board members’ pay hike.
Supervisor Jane Kim said most Board of Education members — who oversee a complex district with 55,000 students — work 40 hours a week, and that some increase is therefore necessary.
“If you only attend board meetings, it’s a minimum commitment of 20 hours a week,” Kim said. “That’s not including meeting with parents, students, teachers and community members, and visiting school sites.”
Kim served on the Board of Education for four years before being elected as a supervisor last November. She served as president of the school board in 2010.
Kim is now a co-sponsor of the legislation and chair of the Rules Committee. Also, Supervisor David Campos is a co-sponsor of the charter amendment.
The Rules Committee is expected to hold a special meeting this week to further discuss the legislation. Before going to voters, the Board of Supervisors must approve the measure to be put on the June ballot.
Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, a member of the Rules Committee, questioned the timing of the pay increase given The City’s and the state’s own financial woes. He also questioned if The City would have to incur the cost of a June election.