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Comox Valley board reviews committee structure, school trustee pay

Staff to present options for board members at final meeting of school year
School District 71 is reviewing its committee structure and trustee pay prior to the fall election. File photo

Trustee pay and committee structure were housekeeping items for the board of education at the May 24 meeting.

For remuneration, the meeting agenda items noted that staff are working on calculations to bring forward for the board at the June meeting.

As the meeting agenda states, the current practice as of Jan. 1, 2019, was for the trustee base remuneration to be $13,900. There is also an additional $3,400 for the chair and $1,700 for the vice-chair.

The district policy states that annual adjustments of trustee remuneration are to be made for July 1 of each year, based on the provincial consumer price index from Dec. 31 of the previous year.

As it is an election year, secretary-treasurer Brenda Hooker added that the district is planning for an information night coming up in June for anyone interested in running for the board this fall. Meeting information will be posted on the school district website.

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The board is also revisiting its committee structure, potentially looking at a plan to bring back a committee of the whole format to cover the work of some committees.

Trustee Janice Caton had mixed feelings about a committee of the whole for some board work but would support a motion to consider it.

“In theory, I do like the thought of committee of the whole, but in previous experiences, it’s not always been a great experience or positive experience for various reasons,” she said. “I do have some concerns with the structure and the process.”

She cited policy as one area where a committee of the whole does not work effectively, as there can be too many ‘wordsmiths’ when it comes to working out the wording of new board policy, adding this was part of why the board had previously gotten rid of the committee of the whole format.

Hooker said the committee would not replace all committees, pointing to the need for separate policy and audit committees. As examples of areas that could be folded into a committee of the whole, the secretary-treasurer mentioned finance and facilities.

She added that the committee of the whole idea will also come back before the board at the final meeting of the school year in June.

“This is just a preliminary review of what the structure would look like,” she said. “We would just be doing initial investigation.”

The idea would be to make any changes to bylaws or policies in time for a new board following the fall election.

For now, the board passed a motion for the superintendent to bring forward a report on the committee structure for the June 21 meeting.

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