Coast Mountains School District 82 trustees have given a pay increase back to the district to support student-focused initiatives.
The money will be distributed fairly and equitably across schools in the district, translating into around $100 per school. According to superintendent Janet Meyer, schools will have the ability to fund a student-centred initiative, like activities or sports. She said several schools will put the money into food programs.
“It was done because we are acting responsibly and accountable. Due to this pandemic we decided that there are people in our communities who are going through the hardship and that is why we decided that it’s not going to be fair for us to be taking that increase,” said Raymond Raj, vice chair, at a June 17 school district board meeting.
Trustees are paid a remuneration in monthly installments. The remuneration is reviewed on a yearly basis in February and it is tied to the B.C. Consumer Price Index. That means a trustee’s compensation can vary year to year based on inflation rates.
The 2019 annual compensation was nearly $14,000 for trustees, $15,443 for the vice chairperson and almost $18,000 for the board chairperson.
Remuneration was set to retroactively increase this year by 2.3 per cent. The increase of all the trustees’ compensation totalled $2,394.
Individual trustees have given back remuneration increases before, but Meyer said this was the first time she was aware of that all trustees returned pay together. At the June 17 board meeting, trustee Sandy Watson suggested that the board consider giving back remuneration increases on a yearly basis.
“I think the conversation will likely happen every year,” said Meyer. “You can’t sign up one year for the next three years because nobody knows what will happen in the next three years, so you can’t speak on behalf of someone else who may not be in the same role yet.”