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New Westminster school trustees vote themselves a 3% raise

Trustees will now make a little over $27,000 a year.
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New Westminster school trustees will see a three per cent pay increase on July 1, based on School District 40's board pay policy.

New Westminster school trustees have voted themselves a three per cent raise for the next school year.

According to board policy, the board considers pay raises by an annual resolution. If approved, the increases come into effect on July 1 each year and are based on the most recent five-year rolling average of the Vancouver Consumer Price Index.

School District 40 secretary-treasurer Bettina Ketcham noted this year’s rolling CPI average comes out to 3.06 per cent. The increase means the following pay hikes will come into effect July 1, 2023:

  • Trustee: $26,307 + $805 = $27,112
  • Vice-chair: $28,141 + $861 = $29,002
  • Chair: $29,975 + $917 = $30,892

In total, the overall budget increase for the board is $5,803, plus benefits, for a total of $6,674.

Ketcham noted that, for comparison, both the district’s unions — the New Westminster Teachers’ Union and CUPE Local 409 — receive a 3.24 per cent general wage increase this year, while the district’s exempt staff and its principals and vice-principals receive a 4.7 per cent raise.

Trustees voted unanimously in favour of the 3.06 per cent hike.

Trustee Maya Russell noted the board is required by the School Act to vote on its own pay raises.

She pointed out a previous board decided the issue of pay increases shouldn’t be up for debate every year. Rather, for transparency’s sake, it decided the rate should first be set based on a survey of surrounding boards, then increased each year in line with the Consumer Price Index — something the board has continued to do each year since.

She said it's important to protect trustee compensation to ensure the job is accessible to people from all walks of life — not just those who have good incomes or who have other income earners in their households.

Russell said it's important that "all sorts of voices" are heard at the board table, and the pay is one way to help make that happen.

Follow Julie MacLellan on Twitter @juliemaclellan.
Email Julie, jmaclellan@newwestrecord.ca