Three Options for School Board Increases – Smithfield Times


The Isle of Wight County School Board is considering three options for giving its members a raise.

Board member Michael Vines had raised the issue at the January 6 school board reorganization meeting and again at the January 13 board meeting. In February, Board Chair Denise Tynes appointed Vice Chair Michael Cunningham and Board Member John Collick to a committee, which she tasked with researching and recommending an amount or percentage for the proposed increase.

Currently, members of the Isle of Wight School Board receive $5,000 a year, with the chairperson receiving $6,000.

The first option would raise each member’s salary to $8,200 and the chairperson’s salary to $10,200 – putting the Isle of Wight in line with Gloucester County, which is comparable in population to the Isle of Wight but has a smaller school system.

The amount would be roughly equal to the hourly rate of the lowest paid employees in the school system, assuming board members spend about 10 hours a week on school business and the president spends just over 12 hours.

The second option would provide cost-of-living adjustments for each year since 2005, which would result in board members receiving $7,000 per year and the president $8,000. According to superintendent Dr. Jim Thornton, with the exception of the chair, board members have not seen an increase since at least 2005, when the school system began using its financial software Munis.

The third option is a 20% raise, which would pay board members $6,000 a year and $7,200 to the president. The third option would put the Isle of Wight in line with Surry County, which currently pays its board members more despite a much smaller school system and overall population.

The committee also considered doing nothing as a fourth option.

According to Cunningham, current Isle of Wight school board wages equate to about $2.06 an hour, well below Virginia’s minimum hourly wage of $11. President Denise Tynes added that school board members are currently allowed to request reimbursement for miles traveled, although none have done so.

Per state law, raises for elected school board members must be voted on before the July 1 start of a new fiscal year and cannot take effect until the year following an election where two or more seats are on the ballot. Vines seat and board member Renee Dial is up for a special election in November, as both were nominated last year when their elected predecessors resigned midterm. If the board chose one of the first three options, the increases would take effect from January 1.

Collick, who had initially opposed the idea of ​​giving himself and his fellow board members a raise, said he might be “all right” if the case was filed until May. Dial also asked for time to consider the three options.

“I just think the timing is wrong,” Collick said.


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