Colleen Elson posed some questions to school trustees (Coast Reporter, June 22).
Here are the answers:
Any talk of the “potential loss of a successful program due to monetary restraints and school board choices” is inaccurate. Some administrative time has been reduced in order to support an increase in school-level support for Aboriginal students; otherwise, we still have the same principal of Aboriginal programs and services, and we are, in fact, allocating more resources to Aboriginal students, over and above targeted monies from the province.
Second, we conducted a very public process last year in which we expressed openness to reducing our board, but only a handful of respondents supported any reduction at all.
At the time, Elson advocated for amalgamation or dissolution of locally elected school boards, reasoning that merely reducing trustees would be “a drop in the bucket.”
So to answer Elson’s more recent request about savings, 25 per cent of total trustee remuneration (all seven trustees) is a little under $25,000. On a per-pupil basis, this number would divvy up to an average of about $2,000 per school, which amounts to 1/45th of the district’s average cost for one full-time teacher. So in relation to our overall budget and costs, “a drop in the bucket” is not far off. As a proportion of total budget, the remuneration for elected officials at School District No. 46 is much lower than any other Sunshine Coast local government.
Local trustees are unquestionably elected by our community to make the welfare of students our priority, which is the foundation of our strategic plan and all our discussion at the board table. It is also the priority of our employees, who are also financially compensated for their tireless commitment to the education of Sunshine Coast students.
Board chair, SD46