Okanagan Skaha trustees turn down pay raise

School trustees decline cost-of-living increase, which has risen 1.6 per cent in the past year

Local school trustees have declined their cost-of-living pay hikes.

No explanation was given, although the board of School District 67 erased 7.7 full-time positions to help fill a hole in its May budget, and an even larger funding shortfall, pegged at $2 million, is expected next year.

Tracy St. Claire, who chairs the board’s finance committee, said trustees have not had a formal pay raise for 10 years, but are entitled to annual hikes equal to the increase in the consumer price index.

In April, the most recent month for which data is available, B.C. Stats reported the CPI had risen 1.6 per cent in the previous 12 months.

Trustees each earned $10,450 base pay for their work during the 2010-11 school year.  Board chair Ginny Manning collected an extra $2,620.



Province loosening

purse strings?

There’s a glimmer of hope for school district administrators looking to fund capital projects.

School District 67 secretary-treasurer Ron Shongrunden told the board Monday that the B.C. Education Ministry has asked for funding requests for minor capital projects, such as seismic upgrades and renovations.

“I don’t want to get my hopes up too high,” Shongrunden said, because the notice from above merely said the ministry was “anticipating” some funding becoming available.

Shongrunden said the last capital plan the district created was for the Penticton Secondary renovation, which began in 2006. The district’s new priority is replacement of the Summerland Secondary gym. Funding requests are due in by October.



Science Fair winners

Two inquisitive Penticton students walked away from the national science fair with money in their pockets and in the bank.

Meg Cumming and Breanne Gowe, Grade 9 students at Penticton Secondary, teamed up on for a project called, An Iota of Colour on Io. It was one of 120 entries in the girls’ age group that received a bronze medal at the Canada-Wide Science Fair in May in P.E.I. For their efforts, they each took home $300 cash, plus a $1,000 scholarship offer from the University of Western Ontario.

Two other Penticton students, Joshua Gowe and Vincent Combret, also travelled east for the event, but placed out of the prizes.