Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ board has approved a pay raise in order to account for increased deductions from new tax laws.
Prior to January, a third of trustee remuneration was tax exempt, but that changed at the beginning of 2019 when it became fully taxable. To offset this, the school board approved changes that will see a yearly increase of $1,400 for every trustee. The board chairwoman will see her annual compensation increase to $20,470 from $19,070, while trustees will see a raise to $18,470 from $17,070.
Tania Brzovic, business committee chairwoman, told the board at its Jan. 31 meeting that the committee recommendation is to balance things so trustees don’t lose money. Stephanie Higginson seconded the motion and Charlene McKay, school board chairwoman, and Elaine Wilkinson voted against.
“If this was for the following board, I would be 100 per cent in support of it. My apprehension is, I just feel like it’s inappropriate that we’re voting for ourselves and I know there’s not necessarily, at this point, another option, but for me, I don’t feel comfortable voting for it because it’s for us…” Wilkinson said. “I’ve worked for 30 years and I’ve never assumed that I have a job that isn’t fully taxed.”
In November, the Canada Revenue Agency told Black Press that the exemption for non-accountable allowances paid to officials, such as school trustees, affords an advantage that other Canadians don’t enjoy.