School Board Names Leaders, Reluctantly Discusses Own Salary

Article excerpt

Byline: BETH REESE CRAVEY

The Clay County School Board named its leaders for the next year and, in an uncomfortable but required annual rite, set its own salary.

The new chairman is board veteran Carol Vallencourt, the vice chairman Charles Van Zant.

The chairman presides over meetings and frequently acts as a board spokesman and as its representative at community functions, among other things.

Traditionally, the vice chairman moves up to the top seat after the chairman's one-year term ends.

"Thank you . . . for your confidence in me," Vallencourt said. "I'll try to do my best to make this a good year."

She commended outgoing chairman Carol Studdard for leading the board through what has been a strenuous 12 months. Issues facing the board ranged from funding and rapid growth woes to controversial decisions made by principals.

"Last year was not an easy year, that's an understatement. You did a very good job," Vallencourt said.

Also, the board approved its annual salary for 2005-06 -- $31,450, a $1,218 annual raise from 2004-05.

That issue was touchy for several reasons.

Board members said they don't like talking about their pay in public, much less voting it into affect themselves. The salary is recommended by the Florida School Boards Association, based on a formula set by the Legislature and based on population, but board approval is required.

And this year there was a new twist.

The School Board Association's recommended annual salary for Clay board members was $31,729 for what is technically a part-time job. …