Fresno Unified trustees’ paychecks will get a boost for the first time since 2001.
Board members unanimously approved a 5% pay raise for this year, and every year after, at Wednesday night’s meeting.
Fresno’s trustees have long had the ability to increase their pay under state law but hesitated to do so because of past rocky relations with the district’s labor unions, trustee Carol Mills told GV Wire Wednesday.
But now that the district is enjoying good working relations with employees, trustees decided it was time to consider boosting the monthly $1,500 stipends, which Mills said help cover the cost of in-district travel and other incidentals.
How Stipends Are Used
Mills said much of her stipend goes to schools in her Fresno High Area for fundraisers, silent auction items, and other donations.
She said a stipend increase is warranted to reflect the long hours that trustees put in to serve the district. But Mills said she wouldn’t want to see the stipend climb to the equivalent of full-time salary because trustees who think of their role as full-time run the risk of overstepping their bounds.
State law establishes pay rates for districts based on enrollment. According to section 35120 of the state Education Code, trustees of school districts with enrollments of more than 60,000 and less than 400,000 can collect a monthly stipend of $1,500 if they attend all meetings held. Fresno Unified, the state’s third-largest school district, has an enrollment of 73,249.
$75 Extra Monthly Starting Oct. 1
The trustees will collect an extra $75 a month starting in October. The overall budget increase for the 2019-20 fiscal year is $4,725.
If the pay raise remains in place each year, the trustees would see their annual stipend climb from $18,675 in the current fiscal year to $29,320 in the 2028-29 school year.