Nov. 14—The Boulder Valley school board at a Tuesday study session discussed a resolution that would allow members to request a stipend for their service.
School board members in Colorado historically have been unpaid, but a 2021 state law allows school boards to vote on compensation of up to $150 per day, for up to five days per week, for performing “official board duties.” That equals a maximum of about $3,000 per month per board member.
Since the law was passed, it appears only a small number of districts are paying board members. Those include Denver Public Schools, Aurora Public Schools — where pay goes into effect in July 2025 — and the Sheridan School District.
Boulder Valley’s proposal is to pay board members $150 per day for up to five full days of service a month. That would add up to a maximum of $750 a month.
Board members would only receive compensation for days when official board duties are performed, which is defined as attending regular or special board meetings. Board members may choose not to request compensation.
Boulder Valley board members were mixed in their support.
Those in favor said offering a stipend could help with the financial constraints of serving on a school board, increase the diversity of the board candidate pools and boost the value of board service. Compensation, they said, could encourage more single parents and people of color to run for the school board.
Board member Richard Garcia, who is retired and term limited, said the stipends could help other board members who, like him, live on a fixed income.
“It’s a minute amount compared to the millions and millions and millions of dollars that we get for this district,” he said.
Board member Kitty Sargent said school board members are the only elected officials in the state who aren’t paid for their service.
“Not paying school boards, not paying state Board of Ed reinforces our public opinion of the value of education,” she said. “We don’t value education. We say we do, but everything is underfunded.”
Those opposed said they don’t want to divert any money from classrooms.
“I want every singe cent to go to our students and our staff when we have had such robust participation in our school board elections,” school board member Nicole Rajpal said.
School board President Kathy Gebhardt, who is term limited, also noted the low pay in the district for para-educators, saying she’s not comfortable paying board members when those employees make so little.
“It’s not the right decision for our district,” she said.
The board plans to vote on the resolution at its Nov. 28 meeting.
If approved, the stipends would be available to the four newly elected members, who haven’t yet joined the board and wouldn’t vote on the resolution. It wouldn’t go into effect for the other three board seats for another two years, until after the 2025 election.