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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Memorial set for one of three found dead at Langley house fire

Father wants the community to know the “amazing” person who’s been lost

Langley Lodge’s deadly outbreak declared over

Fraser Health and long-term care home administrator confirm Friday declaration

Aldergrove moms orchestrate class photo for Kindergarten grads after COVID-19 school shutdown

Five year olds at Parkside Elementary got one final reunion to wrap up their school year cut short

Police arsenal deployed in Langley to avoid potentially violent situation

Mounties arrest armed Vancouver man after Tasering him on Willoughby side street

Langley Blaze back on the field but only for practices

New camera system allows families and colleges to watch ball players

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

Greater Vancouver home sales start to tick up, with prices holding steady

Residential sales last month reached 2,443, a 64.5 per cent jump from May

PHOTOS: South Surrey tractor project evokes ‘$1-million smile,’ helps connect neighbours

Retired Surrey firefighter Ron Henze began project for friend’s dad to fill time during pandemic

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

B.C.’s major rivers surge, sparking flood warnings

A persistent low pressure system over Alberta has led to several days of heavy rain

B.C.’s Indigenous rights law faces 2020 implementation deadline

Pipeline projects carry on as B.C. works on UN goals

Search continues for person seen floating in Coquihalla River in Hope

Rescuers halted the search Thursday night as darkness fell

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

Most Read