A bill that would have given Montgomery County school board members a raise for the first time in six years failed in this year’s abbreviated state legislative session.

The proposed $10,000 raise would have increased board members’ salaries to $35,000 per year.

Last week, the Maryland General Assembly adjourned early as the coronavirus disease spreads across the state. This is the first time in more than 150 years that the session adjourned early.

During the 2018 Maryland General Assembly session, lawmakers passed a bill authorizing a commission to study compensation for Montgomery County school board members. The bill, sponsored by Del. Eric Luedkte, a Democrat from Burtonsville, says the salary panel will revisit board salaries every four years.

In December, the commission recommended salaries be raised to $60,000, a 140% increase from the current level.

The local commission’s chair, Jaye Espy, said in December that the group felt the $60,000 recommendation was fair based on the amount of work school board members do each week.

Advertisement

In February, the Montgomery County delegation cut the proposal down to $35,000 for each board member. The board president would have received a slightly higher salary at $39,000. Delegates cited comparable school board salaries in nearby jurisdictions, like Fairfax County.

The student board member, elected by middle and high school students from across the county, currently receives a $5,000 college scholarship, Student Service Learning hours, and one honors-level social studies credit.

The bill would have given the student member a $25,000 college scholarship and a $10,000 stipend. The student member would have been able to adjust how much was dedicated to scholarships and stipends. The goal, lawmakers said, is to ensure students who don’t go to college or get a full-ride scholarship can receive equal compensation.

Advertisement

In a message to Bethesda Beat, Luedtke said he expects the school board compensation conversation to continue during next year’s legislative session.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com