Isle of Wight School Board members to receive 5% raises in 2024

Published 4:39 pm Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Isle of Wight County School Board members voted themselves 5% raises on June 8, though the increased pay won’t take effect until 2024.

Come Jan. 1, board members will begin receiving a $6,300 annual stipend, and the chairman will receive $7,350.

The vote passed 3-2 when Chairman John Collick joined with board members Denise Tynes and Michael Cunningham in approving the increase, with Vice Chairman Jason Maresh and board member Mark Wooster opposed.

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The board had voted in 2022 to increase stipends by 20% to $6,000 for regular members and $7,000 for the chairman, effective Jan. 1 of this year. Prior to last year’s vote, the $5,000-per-member stipend and $6,000 for the chair had been in place at least since 2005 when the school system began using its Munis financial software.

Per state law, raises for elected board members must be voted upon before the July 1 start of a new fiscal year and can only take effect the year following an election where two or more seats are on the ballot.

In 2021, the board’s District 2 and District 4 members resigned halfway into terms set to end in 2023, resulting in Wooster and Maresh winning their bids in last year’s special elections to fill the vacancies. Those same two seats are again on the ballot this year for full four-year terms, as is the District 1 seat held by Tynes, giving the board the unusual opportunity to increase its stipends twice in two years.

Cunningham had proposed the 5% raise, citing that the U.S. inflation rate, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, had increased 4.9% as of April over the past year.

“I don’t think this is asking for a lot,” Cunningham said.

Wooster, however, said he has “never been a huge fan” of the idea of voting himself a raise, and “didn’t get into this for the money.”

Collick had previously joined with supporters of increasing board stipends in 2022 when the 20% raise was proposed and adopted.

Isle of Wight County supervisors, in April, also voted themselves raises — by 8.9% to $12,800 per member, $14,000 for the vice chairman and $14,600 for the chairman. The supervisor raises will also take effect Jan. 1.