This story was originally published by Chalkbeat Colorado. More at chalkbeat.org.
Aurora’s school board could become one of the first in the state to pay board members, while Denver school board members have started discussing a similar proposal.
In Colorado, school board members serve as volunteers, and have not been allowed to be compensated for their time. But a law passed in April changed that.
Proponents of paying school board members hope to remove a barrier so that more diverse candidates can consider serving, although some experts question whether pay itself will make a big difference.
The Aurora school board has drafted a proposal to pay board members $150 per day, for up to three days per month, when they show they’ve had official board duties.
The board now is seeking feedback from the community on Thursday night. If they proceed, they would schedule a vote before Election Day.
According to the new law, school boards can pass a resolution in a public meeting to compensate board members by up to $150 per day for not more than five days per week. Board members who vote to approve such pay could not receive it during their current term.
That’s part of the reason Aurora school board members want to hurry a vote on their proposal before the election. Four of seven seats are up for grabs, and only one incumbent is running for reelection. New board members could receive the pay, if the outgoing members vote to pass the resolution. Incumbent Debbie Gerkin would be eligible for the pay if re-elected. She said she would abstain from discussion and a vote.