State school board takes voluntary pay cut ‘to set example’

Ohio’s state school board held its May meeting virtually on Monday and Tuesday. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF
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Ohio’s state school board held its May meeting virtually on Monday and Tuesday. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF

Ohio’s state board of education approved a resolution Tuesday to reduce members’ hourly pay rate by 20 percent for the rest of 2020.

Members of the 19-person board (one seat is currently vacant) have been paid $32.02 per hour for their time attending monthly meetings, visiting schools and holding face-to-face meetings with constituents. Tuesday’s vote means they’ll be paid $25.62 per hour for the rest of the year.

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“We are trying to set an example as state elected officials that our pay isn’t immune to cuts,” said board member Nick Owens, who represents Clark and Greene counties, as well as a large swath of rural south central Ohio.

Most board members make between $5,000 and $10,000 per year for their part-time positions, although pay for board leadership can approach $20,000 per year.

The vote was 16-2 in favor of the pay cut, with only Kristen Hill (northern Ohio) and Stephanie Dodd (mid-eastern Ohio) opposing it.

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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine last week announced $300 million in cuts to Ohio public schools’ basic state funding for May and June, as state income tax and sales tax revenues have plummeted amid the coronavirus-related shutdown.

Some of those losses will be offset by funds from the federal CARES Act stimulus bill.