School District 20 trustees discuss cash

he board of trustees for School District 20 approved a B.C. Consumer Price Index average increase to their remuneration for the coming year.

If you want to get rich, don’t run for the school board.

On Monday night the board of trustees for School District 20 (Kootenay Columbia) approved a B.C. Consumer Price Index average increase to their remuneration for the coming year (current average is .5 per cent).

That sum (around $105) will be added to the annual remuneration the district’s nine trustees already receive of $10,519. The board chair earns $13,525 while the vice chair pulls in $11,521.

The agenda said the board’s new rates will be “As per Policy 5.10: Board of Education Remuneration, effective Dec. 2, 2012, trustee remuneration will be increased by the BC Consumer Price Index average of December 2011 to November 2012.”

But the actual increase is unknown right now, said SD20 secretary treasurer Natalie Verigin.

“The current October, 2011 to October, 2012 CPI is at .5 per cent and we will need to wait to see what next month is reported at,” she said.

All trustee earnings are reported online in the Statement of Financial Information report posted on SD20’s home page under “Reports and Publications” for 2011-2012, heading for the 11-12 school year, (on page 44).

In anticipation of a difficult and trying year trustee Mickey Kinakin asked the board of trustees Monday for the amount of the elected officials’ annual allowance be increased to $5,000.

That represented a jump of $1,500 per trustee, increasing the allowance budget by $13,500 to $45,000.

In a normal year the $3,500 amount would be sufficient, Kinakin said. But with a possible change in government this year, he felt trustees would be called out to meetings more often.

“It’s a time that’s going to be an expense,” he said. “We need to put this aside for this particular year because we are going to need it.”

Several trustees spoke against the motion.

“At this point in time, yes, there’s going to be extra meetings, but we also have to look at we are in a huge deficit and to add another $1,500 per trustee this year, I don’t think that is very prudent on our part,” said Castlegar trustee Jo-Ann Bursey.

Trustee Kim Mandoli from Fruitvale said the board would have to decide on travel costs by a case-by-case basis to determine if they will spend money over and above the allotted amount of $3,500.

Kinakin’s motion was defeated.

But the general $3,500 professional development allocation budget was increased. The fund was set up to cover extraordinary, one-time professional development opportunities for trustees that have spent above and beyond their annual allocation.

Again, Kinakin asked the board to consider covering extra travel costs for trustees.

“Are you going to bank rob a person that has to go out and represent this board?” he asked. “That has happened in the past. I would like to have that money there to cover these kinds of situations.”

“Have we ever expended over that amount?” asked Warfield trustee Tony Driutti.

Trustees have asked for extra money in the past to cover excess travel, said Verigin, but the board has never over extended the amount available.

The motion to increase the budget to $5,000 passed. Expenditures of extraordinary allocation have to be approved by the board on a request-by-request basis.

Facilitator

The district approved a salary that will be paid to Wendy Herbert, a retired superintendent from SD 64 (Gulf Islands) who has been hired to help district staff and guide the board through the final steps of the facilities review.

She will facilitate two meetings, including public forums, and co-develop resources.

Trustee Mark Wilson, chair of the facilities and finance committee, told the board she will receive around $12,000 plus expenses for her work.

“That would work out to around $15,000 to $20,000 when all is said and done,” he said.

The actual costs won’t be known until she has completed her work.