Board vote probably in 2010
By By Leada Gore, Hartselle Enquirer
A change in the way Hartselle selects its school board could pave the way for its members to receive payment of up to $600 a month.
Alabama law allows members of city and county school boards to receive up to $600 per month for their services. A higher figure can be set by local act with approval from the board but the elected board could also opt not to receive payment or can opt to set their payment at a lower amount.
Individual members could also opt not to receive payment.
Hartselle’s current appointed school board does not receive compensation, though the law does allow them to do so.
Whether they are appointed or elected, Alabama law also limits the number of board members to five. None are allowed to be county commissioners or city council members.
The payment issue is just one of the questions brought up by the council’s recent 4-1 passage of a resolution calling for a referendum on an elected school board. Rep. Ronald Grantland, D-Hartselle, and Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, have said they will reverse their longstanding policy requiring a unanimous council vote in order to schedule a referendum.
That doesn’t mean the referendum will happen soon, however.
The next session of the Alabama Legislature is January 2010. It could meet sooner in a special session but the likelihood of addressing local legislation such as Hartselle’s during an abbreviated meeting is slim.
The better chance is for the referendum to be set in early 2010, with it following in the June primary or November general election. The cost will be the same - around $15,000 - no matter when it’s held, as it has to be a separate referendum from any state or local races.
Another question centers on how the terms of office would be arranged. Hartselle’s current school board serves staggered terms. An elected school board would take office at the same time, necessitating some to initially be elected for two-year terms, others to three year terms, if the staggered structure is desired.