By Tracy Ouellette
The Waterford Graded School District Board voted Feb. 18 to change its policy so that its board members are paid.
Last fall, electors at the district’s annual meeting voted 10-6 to reduce WGSD board members’ compensation down to nothing.
That vote came on the heels of loud and persistent objections to possible changes the board was – and still is – considering about the delivery of special education services in the district.
Prior to the annual meeting vote, each of the five WGSD Board members had received $3,400 annually.
The new policy, approved 3-1 (with board member Robert Kastengren not in attendance and Paul Beyerl voting no), allows the board to set its own compensation in the future.
Before the board’s vote, district administrator Chris Joch explained that, on the advice of legal counsel, the WGSD board could decide to pass the policy that evening, but the change will not take effect until the district’s next annual meeting, in October 2013.
On the other hand, the change could be enacted before the October 2013 annual meeting if another annual meeting is held before then.
Joch said he believes the new policy would also have to be put to a resident vote at the annual meeting, but was waiting for the district’s attorney to confirm that as of press time.
An annual meeting is the only meeting at which school district residents can vote on matters such as member compensation, he explained.
While none of the current WGSD board members had complained about the lack of salary for their jobs, Joch said, it was future board members that the board was considering with its change to policy.
“The concern here,” Joch explained afterward, “is that it’s hard enough getting people to run for the school board as it is. The lack of any compensation is an even bigger deterrent.”