Trustees vote down motion to increase remuneration

Briefs from the monthly meetings of the Gold Trail Board of Education trustees.

by Wendy Fraser

Bridge River-Lillooet News

The Board of Trustees of the Gold Trail School District held its regular monthly meeting on Mar. 27 at Lillooet Secondary School.

Remuneration motion defeated

Gold Trail trustees decided not to approve a new Remuneration policy recommended by their own Business Committee.

Under the proposed policy, the Board Chair would receive an annual stipend of $12,240, committee chairs and the vice-chair would receive $11,220 and trustees would receive $10,200 per year. The chairperson would also receive a $1,250 communication allowance and trustees would receive a $1,000 communication allowance.

Clinton Trustee Nancy Rempel spoke against the motion, saying she believed trustees are already well-paid, given the number of students in the school district. Trustee Valerie Adrian agreed, adding, “It doesn’t feel right to me to be accepting the increase in the communication allowance.”

Their stance was supported by Lytton Trustee Mavourneen Varcoe-Ryan who said all trustees would have access to high-speed internet and cell phones even if they weren’t trustees.

Chairperson Carmen Ranta said she would also be comfortable supporting the status quo.

Trustees also alluded to the current labour climate and the teachers’ recent job action as another reason for refusing to approve the new remuneration policy.

Sexual Orientation Gender Identity Policy

Trustees unanimously adopted the Sexual Orientation Gender Identity Policy which is aimed at creating a safe, positive and inclusive learning and working environment for all students and employees regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity

The policy was presented earlier this year for official public feedback, but there was none. Trustee Varcoe-Ryan expressed her surprise at this, given the controversy in school districts such as Burnaby about sexual orientation and gender identity policies.

Board Chair Ranta said she’d been contacted by regional and provincial media about the new policy and the lack of controversy within the district.

“I’m very proud of this policy and I think this policy clearly sends the right message and shows our expectations as trustees for school communities,” said Ranta.

Aboriginal Education Report

Trustee Varcoe-Ryan reported on Lytton’s Bright New Day workshop on reconciliation was a success.

“The gym was full of people sharing their stories (of their residential school experiences),” she reported. “They talked about what reconciliation means to each individual, what brings you to the table and how further understanding can lead to a more harmonious community by working together to offer equal opportunity for aboriginal students in life experience.”

She said a Reconciliation Gathering is being planned to further the achievements of the workshop.

Commenting on the Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement, she said the committee has been meeting to come up with a draft version of the new agreement. It’s expected the  draft will be presented sometime this month in all three of Gold Trail’s major aboriginal communities to obtain community feedback.

Continuing Education Policy

The board adopted a policy permitting adults to register in educational programs at secondary or K-12 schools so that they can raise their academic qualifications, improve their vocational skills and continue learning in general interest or recreational oriented courses.

PAC Survey

Trustee Varcoe-Ryan reported a survey has gone out to Parent Advisory Committees (PACs) across the school district to see how the DPAC (District PAC) can better serve PACs at individual Gold Trail schools.