Northwest B.C. school trustees vote for modest raises

Increases for Coast Mountain school district trustees mirror consumer price index

Coast Mountains School District have voted themselves raises, keeping compensation in line with other provincial school districts.

The increases work out to 1.3 per cent for 2015 and 1.3 per cent in 2016, in line with the Consumer Price Index.

As of January this year, board chair Shar McCrory receives $14,346 annually while vice chair Art Erasmus receives $12,314 and trustees Roger Leclerc, Sandy Watson, Raymond Raj and Margaret Warcup each receive $11,082.

Trustee remuneration is a way to recognize and compensate the board for their service in the communities and schools, and one-third of that money is considered expense allowance.

Previously the board chair received $13,800, the vice  chair $12,000 and trustees $10,800 annually.

Trustee Raymond Raj said the last increase was in 2006 and this total increase of 2.6 per cent keeps the school district rate in the middle of other comparable school districts.

“This is not about money, this is about recognition… and this is about the future. If every time you are supposed to get 10 or 20 cents increase, you say, ‘oh that is only 10 cents, just leave it.’ Then ten years later, you [are not on the board anymore] and the other people come, then they are already that far behind,” Raj said.

Erasmus added that it is harder to leave the decision to when there are mostly new trustees.

“The last thing they want to do as a first item of business is to give themselves a raise,” Erasmus said.

Leclerc opposed the raise.

“We look at where we are at in the comparable districts, we are in the middle of the pack. And if we are here for the money, we are in the wrong business,” he said.

Raj said municipalities and other boards get raises as living costs go up, and this increase helps future board members not have to fight to get reasonable compensation.

“It will be fair so that we are not left behind,” he said. “It keeps us in line with the others and we stay in the middle.”