While a committee examining wages recommended pay increases for Nanaimo-Ladysmith school trustees beginning this summer, the board has opted to delay the raise till the next board is elected.
An ad hoc committee recently made eight recommendations including one that would see trustee pay based on an average of comparable school districts, with pay increases taking effect July 1.
The committee recommendation differed from a March 2020 board motion, seeking to give the next board a raise, and at Wednesday’s school board meeting, trustee Stephanie Higginson introduced a motion to remove that recommendation.
“I have been trying, for a very long time, to find a mechanism so trustees are not voting on their own pay increases … I’m glad that people think we should be paid more, it means we’re doing a good job, but I knew what the pay was when I came in and I don’t believe we should be voting on our own pay raises, so I appreciate there will be a bump up to bring us closer to like-sized districts for the next term,” said Higginson.
The committee was comprised of school district staff, union representatives, stakeholders and a former school trustee, and some thought the board should follow the committee’s recommendations, including Lisa Marie Barron, who spoke against the amendment.
”I think it’s essential that we are considering the best interests of future boards and in order for us to begin catching up, this is an essential step,” said Barron. “It’s really important that we have these positions accessible for a variety of socio-economic statuses and backgrounds, ensuring we have, at the very minimum, remuneration that is comparable to other districts. That is a step in the right direction, to ensuring that we have diversity and representation at our board table.”
The amendment passed with Higginson, Charlene McKay, Elaine Wilkinson, Bill Robinson and Tania Brzovic voting for and Barron, Jessica Stanley, Greg Keller and Chantel O’Neill voting against.
In addition, the board unanimously approved the amended report, and will implement its recommendations. The report will now go out for 30-day public consultation.