Around 370,000 people in England volunteer to perform the unpaid role at any one time but many do not go on training or attend all meetings.
Graham Lane, Labour education chairman of the Local Government Association, said paying governors pound;100 a year or chairs pound;500 would enable schools to force them to attend. The scheme would cost taxpayers at least pound;37 million a year.
Last year, the LGA suggested a pound;110m scheme under which chairs should be paid up to pound;1,000 a year and all governors should receive pound;32 a day for attending meetings.
However, Chris Gale, chairwoman of the National Governors' Association, said governing bodies should be required to undertake training, despite members being volunteers.
Both were speaking at a conference in London on local education authorities working with governors, organised by the council-funded research organisation Ten and attended by school standards minister Cathy Ashton.