The chairman of the Alexandria School Board wants board members to give themselves a 100 percent pay raise, a move that some of her colleagues condemn as inappropriate in a year when there is pressure from the city to keep raises for teachers under 8 percent.
"No year is an ideal year to introduce this," Board Chairman Shirley N. Tyler said after distributing a memo Wednesday night proposing a jump in the yearly pay for her and the eight other board members from $1,500 to $3,000.
The memo said: "In my judgment, the public does not want strong potential candidates to be discouraged from serving on the board because they lack the independent income to cover direct and indirect expenses."
The reaction from three of the board members was swift:
"I can't see where more money for the board helps the quality of inputs," said J. Harvey Harrison. "I think it should be free, gratis, as a part of community responsibility. . . . The increase is totally out of line."
"I think we have to be careful in a budget situation," said C. Norman Draper. "If an increase is considered, whatever the amount is, it should be reasonable and in line with what everyone else is getting."
"Make me the third member of this trio," said Lou B. Cook. "Ordinarily you get what you pay for but in this board you get what you don't pay for . . . . Even at maximum, using a baby sitter and taking a taxi, I don't think it would run more than the $125 a month we get."
Tyler, whose proposal is supported at least by Board Vice Chairman Claudia C. Waller, adjourned the meeting. A vote is expected next month. Board members' pay was last raised in March 1979; Virginia law permits paying the city's school board members up to $5,000 a year.
School board members in Arlington get $5,000 a year. In Fairfax the pay is $5,500, while in Prince George's County it is $6,500 and in Montgomery County $7,200.
Tyler defends her proposal with the observation that some of the supposedly part-time members spend 40 to 50 hours a week on board work, including visits to schools.