School Board Pay Comes Under Attack

liebermanilene1.jpg
Wild Art: A recent photo of disgraced Broward County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman, who continues to represent the county on state and national boards after being implicated as a player in the Chait scandal. This comes from a just-released video from the Florida Association of Counties aimed at protecting local control from the vipers in Tallahassee. Here's a link to the vid, in which you'll recognize other dubious Broward politicos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoNPZWZCAYY 
On Friday we learned that the state Legislature was planning to form a committee with appointments from the governor and other Republican leaders to oversee the Broward County School Board's response to the grand jury report. 

The School Board's lobbyist, Georgia Slack, went into full "frantic" mode and, with the help of state Sen. Nan Rich, the mother of board member Laurie Rich Levinson, convinced Sen. Steven Wise, who was proposing the legislation, to remove the provision from the bill. 

I'm not so sure state oversight of the derelict School Board would be a bad idea, but another proposal from Wise certainly is. The Jacksonville Republican is backing legislation to ban salaries for 
School Board members altogether, save a $100 stipend for each board meeting. 

Obviously a lot of recent School Board members in Broward County didn't deserve their $30,000 salary. If anything, they should be paying us to help pay the $2 billion debt they created while wasting hundreds of millions of dollars. Some deserved nothing less than prison, which is what a couple of them are going to get. 

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Wise
​But this idea is unwise to say the least. With no salary for the position, only the wealthy people would be able to afford the job. Or the political climbers who don't mind relying on lobbyists and other influence peddlers for a little payback (which is unfortunately what has been going on in Broward board anyway).  

Being a board member, if done right, is a full-time job overseeing not only all the classrooms of Broward but billions of dollars in taxpayers' money. Right now, it pays about $39,000. I'm not sure if that salary should be increased, but it certainly shouldn't be lowered. There must be some incentive to get good, smart people to run for the board -- and making it a volunteer job isn't one of them. 

Some local politicians make too much -- like county commissioners. We pay them a nice, fat salary of $92,000 for what many of them treat as a part-time job at best. Several do outside work. The good money is supposed to help make them immune from kickbacks -- but as we have seen, that hasn't worked. In Miami, one of the proposed reforms is to raise commissioners' pay from a paltry $6,000 to $92,000 while banning all outside work for commissioners. I think an outside-work ban would be a good idea for Broward commissioners too (you may remember that Ken Keechl promised as much but then took a job at a local law firm to break his pledge).   

But don't make any mistake about it: The Wise proposal to strip School Board members of their salaries is just another sneering shot by a Republican Legislature that wants to ultimately gut public education altogether.  

And it casts serious doubt not only on the Sen. Wise's competence and motives but also on his idea that the state take a supervisory role for the Broward School Board. If this is an indication of his judgment, he should probably keep his ass in Jacksonville and leave us alone. 
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24 comments
anonymous
anonymous

Disband the school board. === Period.

MoreOfTheSame
MoreOfTheSame

Getting Mom involved just put Levinson in the group with "the others" for me.

joe-6
joe-6

Boy does she look decaying like a corpse and horrible as horrible as her money grubbing life. Karma.

Tony
Tony

What is wrong with making this a part time volunteer position? You may get a better quality of people

R. D. M.
R. D. M.

if you look at Florida history, there is absolutely no reason you have 76 districts in 76 counties. It was probably easier than someone actually counting pupils, some districts are way too small while others are way too large. Broward should be about 4-5 districts with folks keeping a close eye on their own schools, not like now where the folks down at KCW (and the WAY TOO MANY DEPARTMENTS) have no clue what is happening at each school site. Nowhere in the state constitution does it say that a school district needs to have 50 departments.

burninshore
burninshore

@DF3 - No where in my post does it say that the northern part of the state should feel what I feel. What's best for them is exactly that...BEST FOR THEM. As for your comment that that area is a true "pulse" of the nation, the commentor below you already answered that. As for your comment about no one down here is really from down here, let me first say that I am a proud 3rd generation Floridian. So yes, we can be shamed. I find it almost hypocritical that you do not have any problem with them deciding what should be done down here; but yet if someone says South Florida is best suited to handle South Florida's problems, you jump on with both feet. And lastly, about your comment about people actually worrying about being a "crook" in a small town; please......what about all the history of political corruption in Louisiana, Mississippi, etc. What have your political experts have to say about that???????

burninshore
burninshore

I love how all of these Southern Georgian and Southern Alabamian (north florida) representatives and senators feel they know what is best for South Florida. Just like a few years ago when some tool from that area decided that South Florida School systems did not need extra funds and then diverted them to his district of about 3000 people total. We do not hold the same values as you idiots up there hold. We don't thump our bible or wear sheets over our heads.

Steve-O
Steve-O

Based upon the $2,000,000,000 that Broward County alone has wasted, gutting public education is exactly what needs to be done. Short of eliminating school boards altogether, reducing salaries is the next best thing. The Broward School Board has not educated a single student.

Patti Lynn
Patti Lynn

The voters in Broward should be looking at campaign finance reports. When a candidate for office spends $85,000, (mostly in other peoples' money), to get a job that pays $25,000, you've got to wonder. Just looking at what entities are kicking into a campaign should give voters ideas about what they are trying to accomplish.

I agree that, once a public position is won, all outside employment should end.

Barry Sacharow
Barry Sacharow

How about merit pay like the plan that was imposed on the teachers? After all, what's good for the goose ...

Fly on the Wall
Fly on the Wall

I agree with you that salaries should be paid to the Board members. Members do spend a considerable amount of time dealing with issues. Just the Board meetings and workshops alone would justify their salaries. Plus, from reading exhibits, the Board Members are on other Boards because of their position.

Fly on the Wall
Fly on the Wall

Pulp,

I believe the School Board salaries are in the $38,000 range.

Randomthoughts101
Randomthoughts101

Lieberman, Ritter, Keechl, Wasserman-Rubin, all could not resist dipping into the public till.If they are going to be crooks anyway, pay them a dollar a year.

DeathFrog3
DeathFrog3

Let me take a stabat answering your post... It's pretty arrogant to think that because you think a certain way everyone else should think that way... But Broward is one of 67 counties in Florida, If you want to add Dade and Palm Beach (Which is not an entirely accurate portrayal of the Broward climate) but those are then only 3 of the 67 counties.

Greater Tampa, and Greater Orlando areas have similar populations to South Fla and a completely different political profile.

It is well know to political scientists that the "I-4 corridor" Tampa to Daytona is a grea predictor of how national elections will turn out. There was an article in the Herald that Identified DeLand as the best predictor of the outcome of national elections than anywhere else in Florida.

So those people up North are more in-tune with the rest of the country than down here.

See one of the problems with South Fla is that nobody is from here there is no "Shaming" your family. In areas in North Florida where families have been there for generations and the town is small enough that you will see each other again, you are less likely to be a crook.

So unless Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach become the 51st state (not sure Dade and Palm Beach would be on-board) The state legislature will do their constituents will even if it isn't what the people of Broward want.

burninshore
burninshore

I am sorry Steve-O, but it's not the Board's job to educate. That's the job of the hard working teachers

DeathFrog3
DeathFrog3

Patti,

You are right but that number is at least in the ball park spend 85k for a job that pays 25-35k per year over a 4 year term so atleast you're in the black to the tune of 15-50k over the term of office.

I saw yesterday Obama is planning to raise 1 BILLION dollars for the 2012 campaign. for a job that pays 1.6 over it's term. He spent 750 Million in 2008.

Rick Scott spent 60-70 Million of his own money for a job that pays 180k (he's donating his salary).

I'd like to think they all have altruistic motives but the reality is the power is more important to them than the money.

burninshore
burninshore

@DF3 - No where in my post does it say that the northern part of the state should feel what I feel. What's best for them is exactly that...BEST FOR THEM. As for your comment that that area is a true "pulse" of the nation, the commentor below you already answered that. As for your comment about no one down here is really from down here, let me first say that I am a proud 3rd generation Floridian. So yes, we can be shamed. I find it almost hypocritical that you do not have any problem with them deciding what should be done down here; but yet if someone says South Florida is best suited to handle South Florida's problems, you jump on with both feet. And lastly, about your comment about people actually worrying about being a "crook" in a small town; please......what about all the history of political corruption in Louisiana, Mississippi, etc. What have your political experts have to say about that???????

Patti Lynn
Patti Lynn

DF3, I usually agree with you, but there are some points here that I cannot swallow. First, the construction of the legislative districts pretty much guarantees that the MINORITY population and point of view is the MAJORITY of our legislative body. As far as the "family shaming," that might have been true 30 years ago, but, there are 2 and 3 generations of families living here in South Florida. That picture has been altered. What do you think?

As far as North Florida being more closely in touch with the rest of our country, that's not exactly true. They are in touch with more Christian people and their beliefs. In South Florida, their brand of religion is growing, but still considered too far to the right for the majority of the population...unless you bring race into the discourse, and then the picture changes yet again. Then again, South Floridians are more in touch with major metropolitan areas, the northeast, Chicago, LA, San Francisco...

Burnin Shore
Burnin Shore

Obviously, I touched a nerve for you. At least come up with something witty other than your first attempt. What's the matter, too many stains on your sheet?

Steve-O
Steve-O

Exactly my point. Then what the fuck do they do other than waste money?

unowho
unowho

Rick Scott should donate his salary to me LOL ....Its not easy being a Fl Governor fan on this Blog......Now Lets Get To Work!!!

DeathFrog3
DeathFrog3

Politically speaking the I-4 corridor is more reflective of the pulse of the country than Broward county is. That is what the polls show and political scientists say. The Washington post wrote about it and DeLand specifically (by the way DeLand is a great little town Volusia County Seat and home of Stetson) I can give a whole dissertation on DeLand. I have spent a good deal of time there.

Yes it is true we now have multi generations here... Normally you have the oldest generation (who moved here) then their kids (maybe born here) who are working aged, then the Grand kids who are in school or just entered the workforce. You dont the 100's of year histories that you get in other parts of the country. The fact is Ft. Lauderdale is only a hundred years old. When you go to places like Atlanta, Savanna, DC, Baltimore, Philly, NYC, Boston etc. Ft Lauderdale hasn't been around that long... Hell Ft. Lauderdale doesn't have the history Cincinatti does.

If Broward is out of touch with the rest of the state whose problem is it? Browards or the 66 other counties?

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