Editor, The News:
Re: Trustees find money for raise (Letters, Oct. 15).
The increase in the trustee stipend amounts to 1.5 per cent following no increase in 2013 and the reduction of annual professional development funds for trustees by $7,000.
Almost all of the trustees on other Lower Mainland boards receive a larger annual stipend than the trustees in our district.
With respect to education assistant hours, postings went up recently for additional positions in response to school requests for more support.
More education assistant time has been allocated to most schools.
Although the expenditure for the superintendent search was substantial ($48,000, not $68,000), it was necessary for the recruitment of an outstanding leader for a critically important position in a very competitive market.
The board appointed highly regarded educator, Sylvia Russell, who will assume the superintendent role in mid November.
Contrary to the writer’s claim, this board took a firm stand during the teacher strike: publicly urging both parties to get back to the table; publicly supporting the B.C. School Trustees Association Back to School Action Plan, which included key elements of the final settlement; publicly calling upon government to rescind the $40 per day plan because it removed much needed funding from the education system; publicly expressing concern over inadequate provincial funding and the budget cuts the board was forced to make; pressing government for responses to several critical questions about education finance; and attending parent organized rallies to express concern about education funding.
As a board, we accept responsibility for the difficult budget decisions we were forced to make last spring.
All reductions were researched and recommended by staff, and adjusted as much as possible based on stakeholder input.
Mike Murray, chair
Meadows school board