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Trustees vote to give themselves a raise

The School District 27 board of trustees voted unanimously to give themselves a raise to cover things like extra travel and meeting costs at their Tuesday, Nov. 26 meeting. Pictured from the left are trustees Will Van Osch (smiling after the board executive), Doug Neufeld, Tanya Guenther, Sheila Boehm,  Chris Pettman, Jackie Austin, Joyce Cooper, and Superintendent Mark Thiessen. - Gaeil Farrar photo
The School District 27 board of trustees voted unanimously to give themselves a raise to cover things like extra travel and meeting costs at their Tuesday, Nov. 26 meeting. Pictured from the left are trustees Will Van Osch (smiling after the board executive), Doug Neufeld, Tanya Guenther, Sheila Boehm, Chris Pettman, Jackie Austin, Joyce Cooper, and Superintendent Mark Thiessen.
— image credit: Gaeil Farrar photo

School District 27 trustees have voted unanimously to revise the district remuneration policy to provide trustees more compensation that will be tied to extra meetings and travel time.

While trustee monthly stipends have not increased, the trustees voted unanimously in favour of the remuneration changes during their regular meeting Tuesday, Nov. 26.

With the policy change, those trustees who spend more time travelling to meetings and attending special purpose meetings will receive increased compensation over and above their monthly stipends.

Careful consideration was given to the decision during business and planning meetings and after putting the proposal out for public input on the district website.

No response to the idea was received on the website.

The business committee outlined the pros and cons for the trustee pay increases.

On the plus side the increases are needed to attract candidates for school trustee positions, provide fair compensation for the work they do, provide balanced access for trustees to participate in meetings.

The increases also follow current practices of the Cariboo Regional District and better equality between north and south trustees.

On the con side the increase adds to the district’s budget costs, added administrative costs, and the public perception of budget increase.

The annual base stipends continue as they are, as follows:

• Chair: $16,000 per year.

• Vice-chair:  $13,500 per year.

• Trustee: $12,500 per year.

The increase will be reflected as follows:

• Board committee chair: $25 per meeting (no additional remuneration provided where a trustee is chair for more than one board committee).

• Acting chair: $50 per meeting.

• Special purpose meetings over and above regular meetings: $120 if longer than four hours: $75 if less than four hours.

• Technological costs: $50 per month to compensate for extra expenses such as Internet and cell phone costs.

• One time compensation to a maximum of $250 for purchase and installation of equipment to operate the laptop computer provided by the district for each trustee.

• Travel time is based on 20 cents per kilometer driven in any one day.

• Commercial travel remuneration is $20 per hour to a maximum of $120 per day calculated from the time of departure (usually from home) to the time of arrival at destination, and the reverse for the return trip.

• Incidental rate for out of district travel in excess of half a day is $6.

• The policy also outlines in detail under what circumstances remuneration will be paid in various circumstances such as for child care.

For instance one section of the policy states that it is expected that trustees be familiar with all schools in the district.

“Travel expenses to visit schools outside of the trustee’s electoral area will be paid on the basis of one trip to each school within the three-year term.

Visiting schools should be limited to a specific purpose and wherever possible to reduce costs, travel should be co-ordinated with a staff member or other trustees visiting the school(s).”

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