The newly elected school board is giving itself an early Christmas present.
Trustees voted unanimously at their final meeting of the year on Monday, Dec. 17, to give themselves about a 13 per cent raise, effective Jan. 1.
The Canada Revenue Agency is eliminating the tax-free component of trustee stipends as of the new year and the wage increase proposed is being done in part to recoup those dollars.
“Basically, what this does is it just maintains our take-home pay,” school board chair Kathleen Karpuk told KTW.
Beginning in 2019, SD73 trustees will earn $22,250, up from $19,921. The chair of the board will make $25,350, up from the current salary of $22,124. The vice-chair will be paid $23,750, up from the current pay of $21,023.
The board’s chair and vice-chair earn more than trustees due to a greater workload.
About half of each increase is to offset the loss of the tax-free portion of income, while the other half brings stipends more in line with the average remuneration for trustees in districts of SD73’s size, according to a report from secretary-treasurer Kelvin Stretch.
There was about a four-year period earlier this decade in which trustees took no increase, putting them behind comparable districts, Stretch told the board.
SD73’s finance committee directed staff to review impacts of the income tax change, and the report from Stretch determined that, based on B.C. Trustees Association’s annual report on trustee remuneration, SD73 trustees stipend had fallen behind the average paid in districts with enrollment between 10,000 and 20,000.
Trustees have also requested a review of the board’s trustee equipment policy to allow the option of an equipment allowance, rather than the current use of district equipment.
The policy committee will review this request in 2019.