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Wage freeze holds down costs for Central Okanagan School District reorganization

A student enters Kelowna Secondary School
April 13, 2016 - 1:01 PM


CENTRAL OKANAGAN - A long-planned reorganization of senior administrators won’t cost the school district anything, that is until a long-standing wage freeze for their sector comes off.

“All those people are frozen at the moment, but when the freeze comes off there will be pay scale increases for these positions,” school board chair Moyra Baxter says.

The school district is trying to find $3.2 million in revenue increases and budget cuts to deal with a shortfall in their 2016-2017 budget.

Estimates from pay scales in other provinces are an additional $80,000 for the five positions, Baxter says, although there’s no word on when the provincial wage freeze could come off.

“We want it to come off and we know there will be extra costs. It’s time for it to come off. It’s not fair that one area is frozen and everyone else is getting a raise,” Baxter says.

The Central Okanagan School District announced the reorganization of senior administrators yesterday, with the elevation of four directors to the role of assistant superintendent. The position of deputy superintendent was also created.

Each will be assigned to a 'family of schools' and given more independent decision making power, with hopes for some cost savings through efficiences.

Baxter says the reorganization has been in the works for some time and is the brainchild of former superintendent Hugh Gloster, although current superintendent Kevin Kaardal gave the reorganization his full blessing.

“We held off on this until after the new superintendent came onboard and had a chance to review the plan,” Baxter adds. “The new superintendent may have had different ideas.”

Public sector education administrators and non-union staff in both primary and post secondary schools in B.C. have been held under a wage freeze since 2011 by the Liberal government.

Just last year, the provincial government allowed modest two per cent increases for superintendents and this year, principals and vice-principals.

Baxter says the school board is prepared, if and when the freeze comes off, to find the $80,000 needed to top up the wages of the new assistant superintendents.

Vianne Kintizner, Rick Oliver, Rhonda Ovelson and Jon Rever will be redesignated as assistant superintendents from their current roles as directors of instruction.

Current Assistant Supt. Terry-Lee Beaudry will be renamed deputy superintendent while Eileen Sadlowski will become assistant secretary treasurer.


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