Grande Prairie’s Catholic school division is putting more money into its annual budget, by way of board trustees unanimously voting to reduce their salaries. At the December 14th Grande Prairie & District Catholic Schools board meeting, trustees elected to reduce their wages by four per cent.
Chair Michael Ouellette says the pay cut is something the board has had on the table for a while and approved in time to go into 2021.
“The government’s asking for different organizations to take pay cuts and it was something that was brought forward to the board through a committee. Our salary is so low in the overall budget that it’s going to make a very small impact but the thing is it’s showing that the board knows what’s going to happen with the resources in education and we need to get out first with this and show leadership.”
The salary base for trustees will be decreased from $16,046 per year to $15,404. According to Ouellette, the money saved will stay within the school division.
Ouellette says trustees have other full-time jobs that pay their bills, and occupying a seat on the board is not about the money. He adds, though the difference will ultimately be somewhat marginal, it’s a step in the right direction to give more resources to classrooms.
“Any time you can put money back into the budget that can be used for other things, it doesn’t matter if it’s school boards, elected officials, towns, counties, even in the city it’s a strong move to show leadership. I think it is going to make a difference and I think other boards have made this decision already. I think municipal governments should start looking at this as well.”
Ouellette adds the division hopes the pay cut will help signal to the province officials taking pay cuts and redistributing funds is a plausible idea to help better spend limited financial resources.