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Bill to Provide Student School Board Members Compensation Signed into Law

Bill to Provide Student School Board Members Compensation Signed into Law
Posted on 10/09/2023

Assemblymember Ward Bill to Provide Student School Board Members Compensation Signed into Law

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Student school board members have a critical role representing their peers and sharing their voice with board of education members. However, despite this important work, current law prohibits them from receiving compensation for their work. On October 7, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 275 by Assemblymember Chris Ward to give school district boards and county boards of education the option to compensate student board members for their work.

“These students often work long hours attending board meetings and voting in the student body’s interests for full one-year terms,” said Assemblymember Ward (D-San Diego). “AB 275 empowers student voices, increases accessibility to these positions, and signals the value of their leadership in representing students.”

More than 270 school districts serving high school students in California have one or more student school board members. Beginning in 2022, county boards of education can also select student board members. Compensating these students will reflect their time and work dedicated to solving issues that impact students and representing the student voice in discussions. Additionally, compensation will help level the playing field, ensuring that all students have the opportunity to participate, regardless of their income status.

“We thrive as a community when students are respected, recognized as leaders, and included in meaningful shared decision-making,” said Lamont Jackson, Superintendent of San Diego Unified School District. “By authorizing school districts to pay student board members, AB 275 allows us to recognize the important work that they do, and it removes financial barriers so that students from all economic backgrounds have the opportunity to participate.”

“I’m proud to represent my peers as a student board member, but this opportunity has come at a cost for me,” said Blessyn Lavender Williams, San Diego Unified School District School Board Member. "Last year, I spent every second of my time outside of school working and applying for scholarships to help pay for college. Running for election to be an unpaid student board member meant choosing between saving for college, or using my voice to speak up for students in our district. This bill means that future students won’t have to face this difficult choice.”

“Student board members put in hard work and dedication, and we need to respect them in the same way we respect any other elected official,” said Matthew Quitoriano, San Diego Unified School District School Board Member. “That includes compensating them fairly for their hard work. I am proud of the San Diego Unified School District and the National Student Board Member Association for their advocacy with Assemblymember Ward for AB 275. This legislation is an important step on the road to fully supporting student leaders.”