The Abbotsford school district is laying off 11 support staff.

The Abbotsford school district is laying off 11 support staff.

Abbotsford School trustees’ pay should be tied to citizens’ wages, committee says

School board looks set to follow Abbotsford council & link their pay with resident income

The Abbotsford board of education looks set to follow city council’s lead and tie future pay increases to the income of citizens.

Douglas MacAdams, the chair of a five-person indemnity committee, told trustees Tuesday that their wages should be linked to that of the average Abbotsford resident.

MacAdams had led a similar committee considering pay for Abbotsford council in 2016, and his recommendation Tuesday mirrored a similar one delivered to council in 2016.

MacAdams’ report said that politicians should prosper (or not) in tandem with voters.

“When incomes rise, indemnities rise. Voters can be confident that trustees get no preferential treatment.”

His committee has recommended trustees make 40 per cent of an average full-time worker’s wage in the region. (Abbotsford councillors make three-quarters of an average worker’s income.)

The recommendation was accepted and will be forwarded to the next board for adoption, chair Shirley Wilson said. She noted the committee operated at arm’s length from the board trustees, who were interviewed but didn’t otherwise have influence over the final report.

If adopted, the new policy will see an increase in the before-tax wages of board members – although not necessarily their take-home pay.

Trustees would be anticipated to make $24,200. The vice-chair would get 10 per cent more than the trustee base pay, while the chair would receive 25 per cent more.

That trustee base rate would increase by 6.5 per cent, or $1,475 over the current wages.

But MacAdams’ report said that wouldn’t quite cancel out the negative effects of the federal government’s decision to cancel a tax break that made one-third of trustee pay non-taxable. The committee had estimated that the change would cost trustees $1,500 a year.

The new policy will also absolve trustees from the politically dicey move of having to vote on whether to raise their own wages. But they can revisit the issue if they choose to do so; a committee is set to revisit the policy in 2022 and will have the chance to suggest alterations or increases in the percentages contained within.

Abbotsford News