Some West VirginiaÂ county school board members want to receive a salary that pays them half of what their county commissioners earn. Sally Cann of Harrison County told the Sunday Gazette-Mail last month it’s a matter of fairness. “It’s a 24/7 job. There’s nobody else that’s paid like that,” Cann said. “You look at our budget and you look at county commission’s. Our budget is more than the county’s. So we don’t think it’s fair.”
Debbie Phillips, a Putnam County school board member, disagreed.
“I’m very happy with what [the pay] is. I almost feel guilty sometimes taking it,” she said last month. “And I don’t know how you justify it in today’s times. I’d rather see the money go to the employees in the classroom and the central office.”
Leadership within the West Virginia School Board Association, like President Rick Snuffer,Â have pushed the Legislature to make changes. By law, county board members are paid $160 per meeting, up to 50 meetings. The maximum a school board member can collect in one year is $8,000.
Professor Mike Cunningham at Marshall University draftedÂ a breakdown of county commissioners’ salary in 2008-2009Â compared to school board members’ payÂ for meetings they attended inÂ 2007. It was presented to members ofÂ a legislative committee in October.Â Howard O’Cull, executive director of the West Virginia School Board Association, submitted a copy to the Gazette.
*Explanation of document: In Barbour County, for instance, the spreadsheet lists the county’s student enrollment, total board of education expenditures and revenue, the number of meetings board members attended and the total compensation ($27,200)Â for all five board members in 2007, not for each board member. Also, it listsÂ board members’ pay as a percentage of annual expenditures.
Likewise, Cunningham noted commissioner salaries as a percentage of the annual budget, a single Barbour CountyÂ commissioner’sÂ salary ($25,080) and the county revenue for 2008-2009.
In a couple counties, data is incomplete.