Okanagan Skaha school trustees set to keep pay frozen

After approving budget that included employee job cuts, school trustees are set to keep their own pay frozen for a second consecutive year.

A month after approving a new budget that included employee job cuts, school trustees are set to keep their own pay frozen for a second consecutive year.

Members of the Okanagan Skaha School District’s finance and management committee met Wednesday to review compensation for trustees, and while some expressed a desire to index their pay to inflation, they don’t think the time is right to do it just yet.

“I think status quo this year, because we’ve just had to make $600,000 worth of cuts, and I think we need to just leave it the way it is,” said Trustee Ginny Manning, who chairs the school board. In that role, Manning earns $13,290 a year. Vice-chair Bruce Johnson is paid $12,220 annually, while five other trustees each earn $10,620. A staff report presented to the committee showed Okanagan Skaha’s elected officials are the sixth highest paid among 10 comparison districts that have similar populations.

The richest trustees in that group earn $21,513 annually in New Westminster, while the lowest-paid collect $9,855 in North Okanagan-Shuswap. Of the 10, only West Vancouver gave its trustees a raise last year.

According to the staff report, elected officials for Okanagan Skaha last received a raise in 2011, when their pay was bumped up by 1.7 per cent, but hadn’t seen an increase for three years before that. The committee was also told that administrators haven’t had raises for four years.

Trustee Walter Huebert, who supported the pay freeze, said board members’ compensation doesn’t accurately reflect the amount of work they do.

“It’s not like trustees are over-compensated for anything. In terms of the time spent, I mean, really, it’s almost a volunteer position,” he said.

In May, the board approved a 2013-14 budget that cut 2.4 full-time equivalent staff positions and will lead to the elimination of a program for gifted students in middle schools. And due to declining enrolment, another 7.7 teaching positions are expected to be trimmed next fall. Huebert said elected officials should share the pain.

“It’s not fair to cut other people and then increase our own pay,” he added.

Trustee Linda Van Alphen agreed.

“I concur with Walter because we did do a lot of work, but by the same token we had to make so many cuts that I think it would be disrespectful if we gave ourselves more money,” she said.

The committee voted to recommend the board continue with the freeze on compensation when it deals with the issue at its regular meeting Monday.

Just Posted

It's believed the Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Sunday night. (Aileen Mascasaet Maningas)
UDPATE: Two churches on band land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

The Coquihalla Lakes washroom is getting upgrades. (Submitted)
Okanagan Connector to get upgrades to aging washrooms

The Ministry of Transportation recently announced $1 million in funding for the upgrades

People at the beach in front of Discovery Bay Resort on Tuesday, July 14. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Heat wave forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

Tempertures are forecast to hit record breaking highs this week

James Miller, the managing editor at the Penticton Herald, celebrates his win with his dog Milo after finding out he was elected as city councillor in Saturday night’s by-election. (Submitted)
Penticton’s newly elected city councillor explains how he can be both editor and politician

James Miller picked up a third of the votes in Saturday’s by-election

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Tony Costa/ Facebook
UPDATE: Out-of-control fire burning above Peachland

The blaze sparked on Sunday and is believed to be lightning caused

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Most Read