Board of Education chair Cindy Schafer

Board of Education chair Cindy Schafer

Trustees approve pay hike for incoming school board

Board of Education trustees elected this fall will see their wages rise by 3.3 per cent over their four-year term.

While teachers and the province continue to haggle, trustees on the Abbotsford School District’s Board of Education voted Tuesday to give the next board a raise.

Pay for trustees elected this fall will increase by 3.3 per cent over the final two years of their four-year term.

The increase was recommended by an external indemnity committee and approved unanimously by the board at Tuesday’s meeting.

While the ongoing teacher’s strike has put a spotlight on education spending, board chair Cindy Schafer said the decision to increase trustees’ wages reflects a board that is operating as normal. Given the size of the raise, she said trustees weren’t worried that the increase might be negatively perceived by teachers.

“It’s not like we were looking for 12 per cent,” Schafer said.

Vice-chair Shirley Wilson said that while it might have been possible to push the decision into the fall, there was no real need to do so.

“We’re following our policy and we’re adhering to it,” she said. “We can’t stop the process and the policy because there’s labour activity. They’re separate and distinct issues, and this is board work that’s being discussed. There is no raise until 2017 and it’s nominal.”

The first two years will see trustees’ pay remain at the present level. A hike of $725 over the final two years will then increase the salary of a non-chair trustee to $22,725 in 2018. The board’s next vice-chair will receive a $750 pay increase to $25,250, while the chair will receive an $800 wage hike to $27,800.

Schafer said adequate pay is necessary to ensure that good candidates aren’t dissuaded from running for the board because of financial concerns.

Wilson agreed, saying the pay does not attract trustees to the job.

“I can assure you that no one does it for the money,” she said. “We do it because it’s a role in our community and we feel very indebted to our community to do this role.”