April 28, 2015 - 3:48 PM
PENTICTON - School District 67 is getting plenty of reaction to news Superintendent Wendy Hyer was given a significant pay raise at a board meeting last December.
“I’ve been on the phone, in interviews all morning,” Chair Linda Van Alphen said today, April 28.
The Penticton Herald reported yesterday Wendy Hyer got a $17,000 pay raise or 13 per cent to bring her salary to $152,000. However, her salary was frozen since 2009, making it effectively a 2.1 per cent per year increase since then.
Van Alphen said Hyer’s increase will be spread out over a number of years, noting also Hyer had the opportunity to negotiate a new contract two years ago, but didn’t. The news comes as the school district, like many others, is dealing with budget shortfalls.
“I agree it might look inappropriate, in terms of ‘optics.’ We wrote the contract in December, and revealing those types of things is not something we do in open meetings,” Van Alphen said, citing the “labour, law, land” mantra that defines in-camera topics.
“We’re talking about the superintendent’s personal contract.”
Van Alphen said she was glad the story ignited controversy and brought the situation to the public’s attention.
“Administrative salaries have been frozen for six years, and they have had no one to speak for them. Trustees are rallying behind them - it’s not fair,” Van Alphen said. She also noted the Freedom of Information request issued by the Herald for Hyers’ salary details was answered as quickly as possible, as the board believed it had nothing to hide.
Van Alphen said budget discussions would be continuing this evening, with a closed meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. She said the board has been getting better at predicting expenditures in the school system and were able to free up contingency reserves as a result. Two big topics of discussion in future budget talks concerned behavioural programs in Penticton and Summerland schools, and special education.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015