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Green Bay school board compensation could change soon

By Heather Graves

GREEN BAY – School board members are set to make a possible change to the board’s compensation and expenses policy at their Dec. 16 meeting.

What those exact changes will be are still not completely ironed out.

After tabling the issue in November, the topic was brought back to the board at the Monday, Dec. 2, meeting.

“It’s been $4,800 for probably about 20 years with no increase,” said Brenda Warren, board president.

Trustee Kristina Shelton said while its a tough topic to talk about, it’s important the conversations take place.

“Maybe this is unpopular, but I do think it’s important that we think about our role here as work,” Shelton said. “It nerves me that we say it’s unpopular, to talk about paying ourselves, but the role we serve in this district is just as vital as everybody else. And I see my time here as working to serve.”

Trustee Rhonda Sitnikau agreed service on the board is work.

“It is work,” Sitnikau said. “It’s very intense, time-consuming work.”

She said she wants to make sure the motivation behind the increase in compensation is to broaden the scope of who can serve on the board.

“I keep coming back to what kind of problem are we trying to solve with this,” Sitnikau said.

Shelton said when she decided to run and serve on the board, her family had tough conversations on whether they could do it financially.

Shelton said she knows those feelings are not hers alone.

“We are serving the community, but it does take time,” she said. “We have to ensure that we have good people at this table. I have heard from others in the community that have said that they would love to serve the community serving on the board, but they can’t afford it. They can’t afford to put that time in. And I think when we think about meaningful work, serving our community on the school board is meaningful work, and it deserves equitable pay. If we want to have more broadly, diverse voices at this table, we have to recognize that financial capital is a barrier for people to be sitting here and participating in this conversation.”

Board Vice President Andrew Becker agreed there needs to be some kind of increase on the overall compensation, but he also wants to look at raising the full-day meeting stipend, which has also not gone up in nearly 20 years.

“I think that should be looked at also, and that maybe is due for a substantial increase because that is people taking a day off work,” Becker said. “I think that is worth a look as well.”

Trustee Laura McCoy said she would like to see the decision as practical as possible.

“There hasn’t been an increase in a long time, we are due for an increase,” McCoy said. “The perimeters I would be in favor of is anything that we vote on would wait to be implemented until after the next elections.”

She said she would also like to make a decision on long-term plans.

Board members discussed increasing the compensation amount to $7,200, which would reflect the cost of living increases over the past two decades.

There was also discussion about implementing the changes over a few years.

Redesign 2020 meeting rescheduled

The board/superintendent retreat to discuss the next steps for Redesign 2020 scheduled for Monday, Jan. 13, has been rescheduled.

Superintendent Michelle Langenfeld said the meeting facilitator believed the board would need more than just a few hours to discuss the issues, and instead recommended a day and a half meeting.

The meetings are now scheduled from 5-8 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27, and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 28.

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