Milwaukee school board members are getting a 4.7% raise — the first increase after holding their pay at $18,667 each for more than 20 years.
The pay hike, set by the board on Tuesday, matches the 4.7% pay increase given to all district employees to reflect annual inflation.
Board member Megan O’Halloran raised the idea of increasing compensation, noting that she hasn’t kept up with inflation when board duties were important.
“After 20 years, I don’t think it’s absurd to consider increasing the salaries of board members,” she said, noting that she had to pay babysitters for watch her children at meetings.
Other members agreed, describing the positions as full-time jobs.
“If you do your due diligence on this board, it’s a full-time job and more, because of all the research that needs to be done,” said board member Marva Herndon.
Board members also said they thought the raise was important to make the position attractive, or at least feasible, for future members.
Only board member Aisha Carr voted against the proposal. She said that although the position was a “taxing” and “ungrateful” full-time job, she felt it was unfair to provide a pay rise while wages remain low for other district employees and the district needs to improve results.
“I don’t think it’s fair to the taxpayers, given the performance metrics and what we’re producing,” Carr said.
Peterson and Taylor remain chairman and vice-chairman
Board members also voted on Tuesday to keep Bob Peterson as chair and Sequanna Taylor as vice-chair for another year.
Carr voted out Peterson as president. She voted for Taylor, who voted for Peterson alongside all the other board members.
The position of Chairman of the Board of Directors was paid slightly more than the others, at $18,667 per year.
Taylor won the vice-presidential seat unanimously. Board member Jilly Gokalgandhi was absent.
Taylor said she hopes the coming year will provide more opportunities to make changes beyond handling the pandemic.
“There’s so much work to do,” Taylor said. “We’ve done some things over the last two years and a lot of it was for COVID. Hopefully this year we can continue those safety protocols but kind of dig deeper to make sure we’re getting the best for our young people.