North Vancouver school trustees vote themselves a pay hike

9 % pay increase will offset federal tax change

North Vancouver school trustees have voted themselves a nine per cent pay increase.

The changes mean trustees will now be paid $27,400 per year, up from $25,200.

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The chair of the board of education will take home $29,700, up from about $27,300 and the vice-chair will make $28,200, up from about $26,000.

Trustees voted Tuesday to hike their pay in response to changes to the federal income tax act that removed a previous exemption making a portion of their pay non-taxable.

The income tax changes essentially meant trustees would take home less pay under the new rules, as all of it is now taxable.

According to secretary-treasurer Georgia Allison, some other school boards in Metro Vancouver have upped their pay in response to the tax changes while others have not.

Trustee Mary Tasi Baker said she doesn’t see the change as an increase in pay. “All we’re doing is putting back (what the tax change took away),” Baker said.

Trustee Cyndi Gerlach didn’t agree, pointing out the change will still result in a $10,000 cost to the school district.

“I just think it’s wrong,” she said, adding, “I’m not here for the sake of making money.”

Trustee George Tsiakos said trustees should also think of the “big picture” in terms of the impact on current and future trustees and their ability to serve the public. “Some of us are more financially set and able to do things without being anything,” he said.

Trustee Kulvir Mann agreed. “I don’t think the cost is so substantial it’s going to hurt the school district,” she said.

Trustees voted to approve the change, with Gerlach voting against the motion.

The last time trustees increased their pay was in September, when the outgoing board approved a 3.3 per cent increase – equal to the increase in the Vancouver consumer price index – for the period July1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.

 

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