Changes for Pennsylvania School Boards, Members

(WHTM) — A Pennsylvania lawmaker wants to allow school board members to be paid while more training is needed.

State Representative Joe Webster (D-Montgomery) issued three memos to members of the House Monday saying he plans to introduce legislation that could affect how school boards operate.

Webster says he will introduce legislation that would remove the ban on compensation for school board members. The bill would allow communities to decide whether members can be paid a salary that meets the compensation limits for a person locally elected to serve in the community.

“This is not consistent with other locally elected officials in Pennsylvania who can be paid for their service,” Webster says. “Civil service is the same whether you’re elected to a school board or to a local church, and it’s time we established parity between the two.”

In a second memo, Webster proposes that school board members at every institution within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) receive free tuition in certain courses related to their role as board member.

Webster argued that it was important to ensure board members had the resources to acquire and improve the skills required for their jobs.

A third memo from Webster says he plans to introduce legislation that will increase the number of hours of training available to school board members.

According to Webster, the legislation would increase the number of hours for new board members from 5 to 14 and increase training for re-elected members from three hours per term to four hours per year.

The training would require subjects such as teaching, financial management and operations. The Pennsylvania Department of Education could adjust training as needed under the proposed legislation.

“Becoming a certified teacher in PA takes hundreds of hours of instruction and multiple rounds of hands-on teaching experience. Certainly, a requirement of fewer hours than a one-credit college course is the bare minimum we should be asking for for those who manage a school district’s thousands of staff and students and millions of public dollars,” Webster said.

The same changes to education requirements would be made for Charter School Trustees.

Copies of the legislation were not immediately available.