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No word from province on SD 60 wage increase plan

Highlights from the Nov. 18 School DIstrict 60 board meeting

School District 60 says it is still waiting to hear whether or not the province will approve its plan to cover the first year pay raises for school support staff.

"We've had no feedback from the ministry as to our acceptance or not," secretary-treasurer Doug Boyd told trustees at Monday night's school board meeting.

"It is still news coming."

In late September, the district was left scrambling to scrounge up savings and find the money needed to pay support staff after the Canadian Union of Public Employees reached an eleventh-hour agreement with the British Columbia Public School Employers' Association.

The deal, which has yet to be ratified, provides the 3.5 per cent pay raise over two years. However, the raises are front-loaded in the contract, including a one per cent hike retroactive to July 2013, a further two per cent on Feb. 1, and then 0.5 per cent next May 1. Staff hadn't received a pay increase in four years, union reps said.

The agreement affects 33,000 support staff members across the province under CUPE K-12, including an estimated 350 workers in SD 60.

Part of the district's plan to fund those raises includes using portions of its reserves and its eligible provincial holdback funds to cover a $235,000 rise in wages by May.

The increases will cost the district another $435,000 in September 2014.

Trustee byelection still up in the air

School District 60 says it expects to set a byelection date to replace Hudson's Hope trustee Sue Stark soon, but exactly when remains unclear.

At Monday night's board meeting, secretary-treasurer Doug Boyd told trustees the district hoped to announce an election date and nomination period "shortly."

The district was still in the process of working through the legal procedures, which include determining whether the district, Hudson's Hope, or both, will be responsible for carrying out the election.

Stark, who represented Zone 3 in Hudson's Hope, tendered her resignation Oct. 20, citing family reasons.

School boards are required by provincial law to appoint an elections officer and call a byelection within 30 days of a trustee vacating their seat.

However, the School Act also says if an electoral area is all or part of a single municipality, the local council is to conduct the election.

If Stark had tendered her resignation in the New Year, the board could have opted to hold the seat vacant until the next municipal elections, slated for November 2014.

Stark was elected to the board by acclamation in 2011.

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