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)

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

Surrey council chambers. (File photo)
Surrey council endorses ‘public engagement’ strategy

Council approves ‘Public Engagement Strategy and Toolkit,’ and a ‘Big Vision, Bold Moves’ transportation public engagement plan

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
Surrey council approves $7.3 million contract for street paving projects

City council awarded Lafarge Canada Inc. $7,326,667.95 for 15 road projects in North Surrey and one in South Surrey

Surrey city Councillor Brenda Locke. (File photo)
Locke seeks breakdown on what Surreyites get for taxes paid to Metro Vancouver

Surrey councillor presented motion to council Monday asking city staff to do a cost/benefit analysis

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
SURREY NOW & THEN: Little Theatre’s 59-year history ends with big plans for move to Langley

A former church, the theatre building/property has sold for close to $900,000

Old trucks are seen in the yard at the B.C. Vintage Truck Museum in Cloverdale June 14, 2021. The Museum is reopening June 19 after a seven-month COVID closure. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Cloverdale’s truck museum to reopen

B.C. Vintage Truck Museum set to open its doors June 19

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

Most Read