During the Sept. 14 special called meeting of the Dawson County Board of Education, board members discussed and approved an updated board member compensation rate and model.
The board members unanimously approved a shift from the per diem model of compensation to the flat rate model of compensation, and unanimously approved a raise in the pay rate to $600 per month for each board member and $700 per month for the board chairperson. According to Gibbs, this new model and rate will not go into effect until July 1, 2022.
In a discussion with the board, Superintendent Damon Gibbs explained that the model of compensation that has been and is currently being used to pay the board members is antiquated in that it was established more than four decades ago.
“The compensation model that’s used today was put into place in 1977,” Gibbs said. “There was a change made in 2006 that changed that from $50 a meeting to $100 a meeting but that’s 15 years ago that that was done. A conversation about the compensation model itself is long overdue.”
Board members are currently being paid on a per diem schedule, meaning that they are paid for each meeting and board member activity that they participate in. Under the proposed new compensation model, each board member will be paid a flat rate per month, which Gibbs said would make it easier on not only the board members but the school system as well.
“Our processes we have internally would benefit a great deal from a flat rate,” Gibbs said. “We put that information in the system and it generates that paycheck automatically.”
In addition to changing the compensation model from a per diem model to a flat rate model, board members also discussed raising the compensation rate to better align the school system with those of surrounding counties.
“Based on the numbers that we saw, anything between that $600, which I think is a floor number, and $1000, which I think is a ceiling number, is going to be adequate as far as comparisons go,” Gibbs said. “Looking at what we’ve seen from other districts across our area, I can’t imagine this board of education approving less than $600 per month for each member and $700 for the chair, and that’s on the low side from what we’ve seen.”
Board Member Nathan Ingram said that raising the compensation rate would bring Dawson County closer to the level of its neighboring school districts, as well as show the board members the appreciation for the job they do each month.
“I think this better aligns up with other areas, and it shows the appreciation for the time invested by the board and the value that the community holds for that board,” Ingram said. “$100 per meeting is antiquated, and doing this better aligns the Dawson County Board of Education with the surrounding areas, so I think it’s time.”
Ingram said that what some may not realize is just how much work and time goes into filling a seat on the board of education, and into making sure to do that job well.
“I’ve been on the board now for a year and a half, and it’s a lot more work than you think it is — not just showing up a day or two a month, but to actually do the job and do it correctly there’s a lot of investing your time in reading the policies and doing your homework to try to find out what the motions and the actions are going to be,” Ingram said.