Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools staff have compiled a report on adding benefits and remuneration increases for trustees. (News Bulletin file)

Nanaimo school district to explore trustee wage increases, benefits

SD68 staff compile report comparing trustee remuneration with five similar school districts

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools trustees are scheduled to debate motions next month that could see them receive wage increases and benefits.

Currently, the board chairperson receives $20,470 a year, while trustees receive $18,470, but under a proposal expected to go before the business committee Feb. 12, the chairperson’s yearly compensation would increase to $22,743, the vice-chairperson’s to $21,743 and trustees to $20,743. The committee will also consider a separate proposal that could see trustees currently ineligible for benefits enter into a plan administered through Morneau Shepell.

A previous plan, offered through B.C. Public Sector Employers’ Association, saw trustees of the day offered benefits, but it was discontinued in 2015 as it was determined trustees were not considered employees. Subsequently it was decided trustees voted in before 2018 would see benefits grandfathered, while new trustees would be ineligible. The B.C. School Trustees Association, an organization advocating for B.C. school boards, told the News Bulletin that B.C. trustees aren’t usually offered benefit plans.

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“Although a few school districts did so in the past, this practice is being quickly phased out,” Rachel Garrick, BCSTA spokesperson, said in an e-mail. “Since trustees are not school district employees, plan providers do not view them as being eligible to participate in district employee benefit plans.”

In a staff report, trustee compensation for Nanaimo-Ladysmith and four other school districts with similar student head counts were compared. Nanaimo-Ladysmith saw its chairperson remunerated the aforementioned $20,470 a year. Prince George’s chairperson received $18,544, Chilliwack district’s received $21,223, Kamloops-Thompson’s $22,124 and Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows’ chairperson $28,500.

As mentioned, Nanaimo-Ladysmith’s vice-chairperson currently receives $18,470 annually, with Prince George’s vice-chairperson receiving $17,044, Chilliwack’s $20,258, Kamloops-Thompson’s $21,023 and Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows’ $27,000.

Nanaimo-Ladysmith trustees receive $18,470 a year currently, Prince George trustees see $18,200, while Chilliwack trustees see $19,293, Kamloops-Thompson $22,250, and Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows $25,500.

Remuneration would continue to be adjusted every September to account for cost of living.

The motions were originally set to go before the committee on Jan. 15, but heavy snowfall led to that meeting’s cancellation.

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