Part One …
“All we know are the facts, ma’am” … Jack Friday from Dragnet.
On April 8th, school trustees axed adult education programs in the whole school district before proceeding to vote themselves an 18.8% pay increase. This trustee pay raise was in advance of trustees having to cut a total of 1.8 million dollars from the 2014-15 school year budget.
From the board’s own synopsis:
Trustee Debbie Evans noted that ” … they need to be able to entice people to come and do this for four years.”
Trustee Michel Saab asked how much the increase would cost the district and was told the total additional increase would cost the district $17,000.
From the Observer School trustees vote for salary increase (Hughes: April 10 2014):
“There’s not ever a good time for this discussion, which is why it has gotten to this point,” said Chris Coers, Enderby trustee, who pointed out that the board administers a budget of $69 million, which is larger than the budgets of the five cities in the region combined. “This is a hard job, with hard decisions we’ve had to make… This isn’t a hike to put us up at the top, it’s an increase to put us in the middle. It’s time to be realistic.”
Armstrong trustee Bob Fowler, who has not voted in favour of any salary increase for trustees in more than 15 years, told the board he would vote in favour this time.
“We are just getting way too far behind and then we will never catch up… We make far less than most of our municipal counterparts and we deal with 10 times the budget and 800 employees.
Trustee Laurie Myers told the board it was not about the increase this year, but about supporting and attracting future trustees.
“We deserve wage increases just like everyone else does.”
Factoid#1 Trustees in favour of 18.8% increase
- Bobbi Johnson – Salmon Arm
- Michel Saab – Salmon Arm
- Chris Coers – Enderby
- Laurie Myers – Armstrong/Spallumcheen
- Bob Fowler – Armstrong/Spallumcheen
- Debbie Evans – Falkland/Deep Creek/Ranchero
- Jenn Wilchuk – Carlin/Sorrento
Trustees voting against 18.8% increase
- Holly Overgaard – North Shuswap
- Barry Chafe – Sicamous/Malakwa
Factoid #2 – $17,000 gets your school (approx) a part-time support staff for a week for the whole school year or a specialist teacher one day a week for that whole school year.
Regional Media commentary:
From the Okanagan Advertiser: Pay Hike timing questionable (Pavlov: April 16 2014)
There really is no way for the voting public to voice their opposition to such a raise, however, and we do need trustees and a board, so I suppose it’s one of those increases that we have to accept, or do we?
Shame on our board of school trustees. After several years of closing community schools, cutting programs and gutting services to children (and adults), they are building a brand new school board office and giving themselves a whopping 20% raise.
Here’s an idea: let’s cut back the number of trustees to 5, rather than the present 9, (Vernon has 7) and use the savings to fund more learning resource and support time for special needs children in the classroom.
Here’s another thought: How about acting like “trustees” and start expressing outrage at the dismantling of public education.