Vote to raise SCS board salary by $20K fails - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Vote to raise SCS board salary by $20K fails

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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DOWNTOWN MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

A vote Monday by the Shelby County Commission to raise the Shelby County Schools board of education members' salary by $20,000 failed during its first reading.

As part of the county commission's procedure, they still have two more votes on this issue. Only the third one counts, and you can never tell what the county commission will do. Even with the no vote Monday, the $20,000 raise could still happen.

MORE: SCS employee outraged over proposed board pay raise
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School board members make $4,100 and if the raise is passed by the third vote, it will raise the school board's salary to around $25,000 per board member.

Proponents said the school board deserves to have a salary similar to the other elected bodies in Shelby County. The county commission earns about $30,000 a year. Opponents said they can't support a pay raise when there were just layoffs in the school system and a property tax increase.

Before the vote Commissioner Terry Roland challenged fellow Commissioner Melvin Burgess' ability to vote as Burgess is in the SCS Superintendent Dorsey Hopson's administration, saying his vote is not proper.

"How is this not considered a quid pro quo when you've got one person, his vote, gave us a property tax increase in which $20 million went to the schools?," Commissioner Roland said. "He's on a cabinet. He got a $12,000 raise out of that. I have the floor and I'm talking to the county attorney!"

Commissioner Roland challenged Burgess' vote, but his appeal went unheard. Burgess did vote on the issue.

"I got the opinion that it wasn't a conflict," Commissioner Burgess said. "We have three readings so I'll continue to look and make sure its the correct vote to make."

To give the board a pay raise, it takes nine votes. If approved, $180,000 would have been spent on raises for the board members.

Last week a preliminary vote to raise the salaries of Shelby County Schools board members $20,000 was met with outrage and disgust among the Memphis Education Association, AFSCME Local 1733, and other school district employees.

School board member Kevin Woods admitted the possibility of a potential raise wasn't why he campaigned for the position. He was going to donate the money if the raise was approved.

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FOX13 News reporter Lauren Lee contributed to this report.

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