School board members voted in favour of giving themselves a small raise in order to offset the increased amount of taxes being taken off their salaries.
“What we were trying to do is alter the compensation formula for trustees in order to make up for the loss in take-home pay,” said Rick Price, the chair of the board during the Oct. 10 school district meetings.
The board is giving its members an 8.4-per-cent raise, which is the amount accounting staffers calculated would be enough to compensate for the extra amount being taken off their pay cheques.
Seven trustees are on the board, and their salaries range from $11,260 to $13,900, with more money going to those representing regions farther away from the school district’s head office in Squamish.
With the raise, each of them will have between $941 to $1,162 added to their yearly pay. Those representing areas farther away from the head office will receive more.
On top of their raise, the chair and vice-chair will also receive an extra $334 and $84 per year, respectively. It’s customary for the two trustees filling those roles to receive a little more for their work.
“No one is getting rich here,” said trustee Laura Godfrey.
This raise will be effective on Jan. 1, 2019, which is when new Canada Revenue Agency regulations will take effect.
Under current tax rules, one-third of trustees’ pay is tax exempt in order to compensate for some work expenses such as travel.
The new regulations will remove that exemption.
This move has drawn fire from the Canadian School Boards Association, which sent a critical letter to Finance Minister Bill Morneau earlier this year.
“[This change] would discourage citizens from giving of their own private time to serve the public and their communities,” wrote Floyd Martens, president of the association.
“We respectfully request that you reconsider this provision and leave the exemption for school trustees in place.”