Lisa Beare is stepping down as school board trustee.

Lisa Beare is stepping down as school board trustee.

New MLA leaving Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board

Given unpaid leave of absence till year end

Newly elected NDPer Lisa Beare is stepping down as school trustee to take on the MLA’s job full time.

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board granted Beare an unpaid leave of absence last week up, until the end of this year.

If Beare then resigns next year, during an election year, which is 2018, the school board doesn’t have to call a byelection to fill the vacancy.

Beare, MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, defeated Liberal Doug Bing in the May 9 provincial election.

School board chair Mike Murray said the board will be able to function with its remaining trustees for the balance of its term.

“The board is quite comfortable with their ability to function with six,” said Murray.

Murray said the school board could have refused the leave of absence, which could have forced Beare to resign this year, and thus trigger a byelection. Or, she could have continued on serving as both MLA and trustee.

Beare, a flight attendant with Air Transat, was first elected to school board in 2014, after winning the most votes as a candidate, 6,433.

By not having a byelection, the school district will save $70,000, “pretty much a full-time teacher,” Murray noted.

“Then if she resigns, (in the new year) there’s no requirement for a byelection,” said Murray.

The school district will also save half of Beare’s yearly school trustee salary for 2017 of about $20,000.

The average annual salary for a school trustee is about $20,000 but Beare in the 2015-16 fiscal year, made only $15,263 according to financial statements.

Former MLA Bing was elected in the 2013 provincial election and maintained his seat on Pitt Meadows city council until early 2014, although he wasn’t paid as a councillor during that time.

Civic and school board elections take place in Oct. 20, 2018.