At the school board’s Jan. 29 meeting, trustee Darrell Furgason put forth a motion to give trustees a 29.6-per-cent increase in salaries. (Sarah Gawdin/The Progress)

Chilliwack school trustee wants 30% raise

Trustee Darrell Furgason asked the board to raise their salaries from $19,293 to $25,000

A school trustee in Chilliwack brought forth a motion that would see trustees receive a 29.6-per-cent raise.

At a board meeting this week, Darrell Furgason said he thinks “it’s not unreasonable” to have the trustees’ stipend reflect the new income tax assessment, the cost of living, and the cost of trustees using their own vehicles for school district reasons.

He also suggested their wages be raised from a “meager” $19,000 to $25,000 because “the current rate prejudices (the board) for a number of reasons,” such as the recent tax changes.

“It’s up to this board to decide how to fairly and justly compensate its trustees,” Furgason said.

READ MORE: Chilliwack School District graduating more students than ever before

Beginning in January, the rules around the taxation of trustee salaries changed. Previously, $6,000 of their wages were subject to income tax. Now, it’s the entire thing.

Furgason said trustees paid $693 in income tax and CPP contributions last year, but that amount will rise to $2,301 under the new rules.

Furthermore, he added, if you extrapolate their current salary and compare it to what a full-time employee earns, “we’d be earning far less than a teacher in the district.

“So I maintain that it’s reasonable of us, it’s not greedy, I’m not committing suicide by suggesting that a raise from $19,000 to $25,000 is reasonable and fair.”

Board chair Dan Coulter said trustees hadn’t given themselves a raise in years because district staff didn’t get one.

“What we did then was tie our raises to CPI, so we have been getting raises every year, two per cent every year.”

Said vice-chair Willow Reichelt: “The remuneration was obviously set in respect to taxation rules, but they’ve changed now, so by my calculations, we’d need to increase our salaries by $2,292 to account for that.”

Furgason’s motion would increased the stipend by $5,507, which would result in a salary nearly $3,400 more than it was before the tax change.

READ MORE: Anti-SOGI advocate says he’s complained to B.C. Ombudsperson about Chilliwack School Board

“If the board were to approve this motion, the cost to the district over this board’s term would be $148,274,” Reichelt said. “For some perspective, that’s 6,178 EA [education assistant] hours. I personally can’t vote myself that much of raise that would take away from student learning.”

As the motion made its way around the table and trustees discussed its merit, it soon became apparent that most were uncomfortable with voting themselves a raise without any external recommendations.

READ MORE: A Chilliwack Trustee’s motion to get Barry Neufeld back in schools as a liaison fails

In the end, the board followed another councillor’s suggestion and agreed to strike an ad hoc committee of volunteers to “crunch some more numbers.” The motion was deferred until the first meeting in March.


 

@SarahGawdin on Twitter
SarahGawdin on Instagram
Sarah.Gawdin@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

GOWN UP to raise $10m for Surrey Memorial Hospital upgrades

The money will be used to upgrade 10 operating rooms, buy cutting-edge equipment and recruit more top-notch surgeons

Canucks’ Diwali Night game gives Surrey’s Heer the thrill of DJ-ing for his favourite team

‘It should be a good game with (Alexander) Ovechkin in town’ on Oct. 25, says Jovan Heer

Shoppers line up for Winners opening at Semiahmoo Shopping Centre

Popular retail store is second in South Surrey

‘A monumental step’: Surrey Food Bank finds new, much larger home in Newton

The charity is expected to make the move next summer

UPDATED: British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in US after ‘accidentally’ crossing border

CBP claims individuals were denied travel authorization, crossing was deliberate

VIDEO: #MeToo leader launches new hashtag to mobilize U.S. voters

Tarana Burke hopes to prompt moderators to ask about sexual violence at next debate

Potent power play paces Canucks to 5-1 win over Detroit

Miller nets a pair as Vancouver wins third straight

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

B.C. massage therapist reprimanded, fined for exposing patients’ breasts

Registered massage therapist admits professional misconduct

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

Rugby Canada helps recovery efforts in Japan after typhoon cancels final match

Canadian players wanted to “give back in whatever small way they could”

$100,000 reward for B.C. gangster extended to United States

Police belive fugitive Conor D’Monte may be in the Los Angeles area

Emily Carr University closed Sunday after fire causes some damage

The school is working with Vancouver police to assist their investigation into the fire

Most Read