“We want to ensure service to our district is accessible to anyone who is interested,” said Kristin Smith, Board President, “We believe doing so will help diversify representation on the board to better reflect and serve our community.”
The board discussed the topic over the past three months in coordination with the district’s finance department and passed the resolution on June 13. The stipend of $161.70 per day for each board member elected after November 2023 will be given for two days per week, 11 months of the year, for a maximum yearly amount of $14,299.60. The amount was calculated on a conservative estimate of hours required for board duties. The resolution also allows board members and their families to enroll in the district’s group health care plan, as long as it is permitted by the plan provider and the board member pays the entire premium for coverage – at no cost to the district. The final stipend and health care resolution will be read into the record at the board meeting on June 23.
Prior to 2021, school board members were unpaid elected officials in Colorado. The Colorado legislature passed Compensation for School District Board Members Bill HB 21-1055 in 2021 to allow boards to vote to pay future board members up to $150 per day for up to five days a week. It also allowed for inflation, which is now calculated at $161.70 per day. Durango follows several other districts in voting to approve stipends for future board members since the bill was passed, including districts in Denver, Aurora, and Sheridan. The amount of compensation varies by district and position. Some districts provide a stipend, while others pay board members a salary or hourly wage.
The stipend resolution benefits schools and the community in the following ways:
- Increases candidate pool to ensure long-term stability of representative governance
- Diversifies who can serve to better represent/reflect the community’s population
- Lowers the economic barrier for those who wish to offer their service
- Offsets the costs to service, such as paying for child care or supplementing time off of paid work for necessary board duties
- Encourages community members to run for open seats