Leg­is­la­tors seek to give BOE au­thor­ity to ap­prove salaries

The Covington News - - LOCAL - DUANE M. FORD [email protected]­news.com

New­ton County’s four leg­is­la­tors could not come to a unan­i­mous yes or no de­ci­sion about the New­ton County School Sys­tem (NCSS) Board of Education’s (BOE’s) re­quest for a salary in­crease for each mem­ber of the BOE. So they agreed to give the BOE au­thor­ity to make its own de­ci­sions about fu­ture salary in­creases.

For the past 26 years, each of the five mem­bers of the BOE has re­ceived the same salary, $600 per month. In Fe­bru­ary, the BOE asked New­ton County’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives — Dale Rut­ledge, District 109; An­drew Welch, District 110; Dave Bel­ton, District 112; and Pam Dick­er­son, District 113 — to sup­port and spon­sor leg­is­la­tion au­tho­riz­ing an in­crease to $1,000 per month for each BOE mem­ber. The NCSS serves over 19,000 stu­dents and has an an­nual bud­get of nearly $180 mil­lion.

In Ge­or­gia, a board of education’s re­quest to in­crease its mem­bers’ salaries re­quires unan­i­mous ap­proval by lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives, in­tro­duc­tion of au­tho­riz­ing leg­is­la­tion and then a fa­vor­able vote in the Ge­or­gia House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and the Ge­or­gia Se­nate. Dick­er­son was the only one of the four lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives who told The Cov­ing­ton News she sup­ported the BOE’s re­quest for a salary in­crease. Rut­ledge and Welch did not state a po­si­tion.

This week, Bel­ton re­ported that al­though the four rep­re­sen­ta­tives did not agree on whether or not to ap­prove the BOE’s re­quest, they agreed to spon­sor House Bill 612. That bill has been in­tro­duced and will be voted on by the House this week. If ap­proved, the Se­nate will con­sider it next week. It would au­tho­rize the NCSS BOE to set its own salaries sub­ject to three con­di­tions.

First, any in­crease in “salary, com­pen­sa­tion, ex­penses, or ex­penses in the na­ture of com­pen­sa­tion” could not be­come ef­fec­tive un­til Jan­uary 1 “of the year fol­low­ing the next gen­eral elec­tion held after the date on which the ac­tion to in­crease the com­pen­sa­tion was taken.” In other words, if HB 612 is passed, the BOE could act to in­crease mem­bers’ salaries, but they could not re­ceive a new salary un­til Jan­uary 2019, the first Jan­uary after the next elec­tion in Novem­ber 2018.

Sec­ond, the BOE would be re­quired to pub­lish its in­tent to raise its mem­bers’ salaries as well as the fis­cal im­pact of such a raise in the NCSS’s of­fi­cial news­pa­per “at least once a week for three con­sec­u­tive weeks im­me­di­ately pre­ced­ing the meet­ing at which the ac­tion is taken.” The Cov­ing­ton News is the NCSS’s of­fi­cial news­pa­per.

Third, the BOE would be pro­hib­ited from tak­ing ac­tion on its mem­bers’ salaries be­tween “the date that can­di­dates for elec­tion as mem­bers of the board may first qual­ify as such can­di­dates” and the fol­low­ing Jan­uary 1. Can­di­dates seek­ing elec­tion to the BOE in the Novem­ber 2018 gen­eral elec­tion may first qual­ify on March 5, 2018. There­fore, the BOE would be barred from tak­ing ac­tion on mem­bers’ salaries f be­tween March 5, 2018, and Jan. 1, 2019. There would be a sim­i­lar pro­hib­ited pe­riod in every two-year elec­tion cy­cle.

Un­der cur­rent pro­ce­dures, un­happy Ge­or­gia tax­pay­ers can hold both their board of education mem­bers and their lo­cal leg­is­la­tors ac­count­able; the board for ask­ing for a salary in­crease and the leg­is­la­tors for ap­prov­ing such a re­quest. HB 612 would al­low the NCSS BOE to makes its own de­ci­sions re­gard­ing the com­pen­sa­tion of its mem­bers. It would trans­fer all ac­count­abil­ity to the BOE. If ap­proved, New­ton County’s leg­is­la­tors would no longer be in­volved in de­ci­sions on NCSS BOE mem­bers’ salaries.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.