Jan 11, 2024 - News

San Diego is paying student school board members

Illustration of a very large pencil filling out a check.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Student trustees on San Diego Unified's school board are now paid $1,736 monthly — the same amount their elected adult colleagues earn.

Why it matters: The district is one of the first in the state to pay student board members, who've sought more recognition for years.

Catch up quick: Students first got a seat at the table in 2019 through a petition, then a second seat in 2022, and now, compensation.

  • San Diego Unified board members and administrators advocated for Assembly Bill 275, which was signed into law in October and went into effect Jan. 1. It allows districts and county boards of education to pay student members stipends and to offer elective course credit for their work.
  • The school board voted in December to pay its student representatives, who were previously only reimbursed for travel.

Context: About two-thirds of the California districts that serve high school students have a student board member, the Union-Tribune reported.

  • In San Diego, they are elected by their peers and serve one-year terms.
  • One student trustee estimated he spends 25 to 30 hours a week working in this position.

Of note: While students sit on the board, they can't cast an official vote, thus, their power is limited.

The big picture: At least 31 states allow local school boards to have student members. Those students don't typically have a vote, per EdWeek.

  • There's been momentum to boost compensation for local school board members nationwide, but as of November, at least 13 states explicitly ban any member from being paid, EdWeek reported.

What's next: San Diego Unified student leaders are continuing to fight for more representation through full voting powers, which would take another new state law, per the U-T.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios San Diego.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More San Diego stories

No stories could be found

San Diegopostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios San Diego.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more