School Board Pay -- Is It Too High? 
By Alex Saitta 
June 27, 2011 
Early in this year’s budget process there was a public speaker at a board meeting and who said school board trustees should forgo their $3,000 salary to help plug the deficit.  
I was curious how the pay of trustees pay ranked in terms of other districts of similar size and nearby, as well as other governments in Pickens County. 
From January 1 through June 30, the board as a whole met 15 times or an average of 2 ½ times per month. Plus there have been a handful of committee meetings of three board members. The chairman spends more of his time than the trustees, but not a lot of time in my book.  
Versus Other School Districts: 
The school district of Pickens County has a bit more than 16,100 students. Looking at districts of similar size (+/- 1,000 students), the annual pay is as follows:  
Beaufort: $7,500 board members and $9,000 chairman. 
Lexington Five: $3,750. 
York 3: $7,200 board members and $8,400 chairman. 
Florence One: $600 a year.  
Versus Boardering Districts:  
Greenville: $8,400 board members, $9,400 a year for the chairman. Greenville has 66,000 students. 
Oconee: $6,400 board members, $7,600 chairman. Oconee has 11,000 students.  
Anderson One and Anderson Four: No pay. Both districts are less than half the size of Pickens.  
It is a mixed bag. If you cherry pick the data focusing on Florence One or Anderson Four, you can say Pickens Board pay is too high. Using the same cherry picking method, you could focus on Oconee, Greenville, York 3 and Beaufort and say Pickens Board pay is too low. Looking at the data overall, it is difficult to make the case the Pickens County board pay of $3,000 a year is high.  
Versus Other Local Governments: 
Below is a table listing the pay of local councils in each town and at the county level.  
Annual Pay Chairman
Annual Pay Member
City Of Easley
County Council
City of Pickens
City of Liberty
City of Clemson
Town of Central
School Board
Town of Norris
Town of Six Mile
Looking at this data, I draw the same conclusion. I don't think school board salaries are high. The budget of the school district is $94 million. Trustee pay is roughly equal to that of those serving on the Central town council, which is probably 2 to 3% of the size of the school district.  
I generally don't like comparing one government entity to another, and then concluding the entitiy with the lower costs is inexpensive or low. Often that is not the case with government. Rarely is anything low when dealing with government spending.  
However, if I was a citizen wanting to make a point about high elected official pay, I wouldn't cite school board trustee pay in any example I used. Looking at the data, board pay doesn't look excessive or too high in any way.  
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