Crunching Numbers: A West Kootenay Advertiser feature breaking down payrolls and salaries for West Kootenay cities

School districts have limited control in payroll

A breakdown of payrolls for the region's school districts as well as their top earners.

Greg NesteroffWest Kootenay Advertiser

School districts have little leeway in controlling salaries, the chairs of two local boards say.

Financial reporting for 2012-13, the most recent available, showed the Kootenay Lake district had the highest payroll at $38.7 million, followed by Kootenay Columbia at $27.5 million, and Boundary at $11.4 million.

Expressed per student, the sequence is reversed with Boundary the highest at $8,683 for each of its pupils, followed by Kootenay Columbia at $7,113 and Kootenay Lake at $6,612.

The Ministry of Education’s funding formula includes a base amount for each student plus supplementary grants to address things like declining enrolment and salary differentials in districts with higher-than-average teacher salaries. Overall, per-pupil provincial funding was about $8,500.

Kootenay Columbia chair Darrel Ganzert said teacher numbers are largely dictated by enrolment and provincial contracts, limiting trustees’ ability to keep staffing costs down.

“The more years experience you have, the more expensive you are,” Ganzert said. “We will occasionally hire people with a lot of experience, but most teachers [hired] are beginning teachers at lower wages.”

As for senior administrators, Ganzert said wages have been frozen provincially for the last two years and when they hire someone, there is no dickering. “Typically if a position comes up, we would set the wage and people would apply or not. The wage would be pre-set on the job posting,” he said.

Prior to the freeze, increases corresponded to teachers’ raises.

Boundary district chair Teresa Rezansoff, who is also president of the BC School Trustees Association, said their budget process emphasizes student choices in secondary schools, keeping all schools open, and meeting student needs in areas like special education, learning assistance, and counselling.

She also said they are “very lean” administratively, with several principals responsible for more than one school or teaching part-time.

“Our senior staff is very small. The board regularly examines its administration numbers, just as it does all staffing levels, especially when retirements happen.”

Rezansoff said administrative salaries are determined by enrolment and in comparison with other similar-sized district.

Kootenay Lake school district chair Rebecca Huscroft couldn’t be reached for comment.

The Southeast Kootenay district, headquartered in Cranbrook, has enrolment and payroll numbers very similar to Kootenay Lake’s, but almost 30 more employees earning over $75,000 a year and five more earning over $100,000.

The Kootenay Lake district had 5,755 students in 2012-13 attending 21 schools and distance and alternate programs in Nelson, Creston, Salmo, Kaslo, Meadow Creek, Crawford Bay, the Slocan Valley, Blewett, Longbeach, Erickson, and Yahk.

Kootenay Columbia had 3,870 students at its ten schools and alternate programs in Castlegar, Trail, Rossland, Fruitvale, Warfield, and Robson.

Boundary had 1,318 students in ten schools and an alternate program in Grand Forks, Greenwood, Midway, Rock Creek, Christina Lake, Beaverdell, and Big White.

— With files from Craig Lindsay and Jim Sinclair

Just Posted

Senior curling provincials setting up for exciting finish

Standings tight as Senior curling teams push for provincial playoffs

Rescued snowmobilers ill-prepared for emergency, Castlegar RCMP say

Two men rescued Wednesday night were not ready for overnight in back country

Police share more details on occupants and suspicious van in Fruitvale

Vehicle in question offered young girl a ride to school on Feb. 19

B.C. Interior free from measles

Vancouver measles outbreak hasn’t spread to the B.C. Interior

Parity prevails at BC Senior Curling championship

Teams go toe-to-toe in second Draw at the BC Senior Curling Championship

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

North America’s oldest retailer is revamping its various stores to improve profitability

BC SPCA investigates Okanagan woman with prior animal abuse convictions

BC SPCA is investigating a property near Vernon

Man wanted for sex trafficking, confinement may be heading to B.C.

Kevin Myrthil, 26, is also accused of assault on a 19-year-old woman at an Edmonton hotel

Most Read