The Aurora school district will pay future board members a stipend of up to $450 a month, the board decided on Tuesday.
Serving on a school board to help guide a district in creating policy, setting goals, and hiring superintendents has traditionally been a volunteer position in Colorado. Board members say that it requires a lot of time, and that the uncompensated commitment deters parents, especially those from lower income families, from serving on the board.
Aurora school board member Michael Carter, who drafted the new policy, said earlier this month that he hopes the new policy will promote greater diversity and participation on the school board.
“The majority of our students’ parents work,” Carter said. “For them to participate in this board is going to be hard. I never want a financial restriction to be a reason why an individual is not on this board.”
The Aurora district is one of the most diverse in the state with students of color representing 86% of all students, and 71% qualifying for free or reduced price lunches, a measure of poverty. Racially, the school board is diverse, but historically, members have come from select affluent neighborhoods of the district.