Atlanta school board members call for pay raises

The Atlanta school board's budget commission is considering a potential pay hike for future school board members. (Hyosub Shin / AJC FILE PHOTO)
The Atlanta school board's budget commission is considering a potential pay hike for future school board members. (Hyosub Shin / AJC FILE PHOTO)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Atlanta school board members are calling for a pay raise for whoever holds their seats next year.

The board’s budget commission on Thursday recommended increasing members’ pay from $15,170 a year to $22,500. The proposal also would bump the vice chair’s pay to $23,500 and $24,500 for the chair.

The proposal now goes to the full board for its review in May, with a vote anticipated in June. All nine board seats are up for election in November. Any pay increase would kick in when the new board is seated in January.

Several board members said the time has come, after two decades without a raise, to increase pay. Aretta Baldon said it would allow more candidates from different backgrounds to run for office.

“I just want to bring this back again to equity, and the potential and the possibility that more people can have this opportunity to serve without sacrificing things that are needed like food and the roof over their head,” she said during Thursday’s meeting.

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The proposed pay hike is equivalent to a 2% annual increase since the last time board members received a raise, said Michelle Olympiadis, chair of the board’s budget commission.

Last fall, a city compensation commission recommended that school board pay should nearly double, to $30,000 a year.

A couple board members express concern about a large increase, including Chairman Jason Esteves. He said he ran for the seat “as a public service” and said many school board members across the nation are unpaid.

He added that the role of a board member should not be a full-time job.

ExploreAtlanta school board to weigh proposal to nearly double pay

Atlanta school board salaries currently fall in the middle of the pack compared to other metro Atlanta districts.

DeKalb County school board members make $18,000 a year plus a monthly stipend of about $450, according to the Georgia School Boards Association.

In Fulton County, board members make $18,500. Gwinnett school board members, who oversee the state’s largest district, made $15,608 at the start of this year. The Cobb school board salary is $19,000. In Clayton, it’s $12,000.

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