by Colin Smith
Morinville News Correspondent
Being a school trustee is an extremely demanding and time-intensive undertaking, points out Dr. Michele Dick, Sturgeon School Division Superintendent.
Sturgeon trustees attend two formal board meetings per month and are members of the Alberta School Boards’ Association and the Public School Boards’ Association, which involves monthly meetings and twice-annual provincial meetings.
Trustees are involved in other jurisdiction committee work and community committee work such as the Rotary Club and the Community Services Advisory Board, work on joint use agreements in each of their communities, and participate in local community activities as required. They also attend monthly school council meetings in designated schools as well as many school functions.
“An important part of their role is to deliberate on and approve the division’s yearly budget and this requires additional meetings as well as preparation time,” stated Dick.
Trustee pay is in accordance with Sturgeon School Division’s Trustee Remuneration and Expense Reimbursement Policy, revised last October. According to the policy, trustee remuneration changes at the same rate and time as changes to salary scales in the school division’s General Employment Conditions.
Currently, the base remuneration for trustees is $18,060 annually, while the vice-chair of the board receives $18,783 and the Chairman $19,546. All are eligible for professional development allowances of $3,400 per year.
In addition, trustees may receive per diem payments for taking part in board retreats, conferences and seminars, discipline hearings and other board-approved business. The per diem rate is $100 for a full day and $50 for a half day.
Attendance of Trustees at meetings of the board is required by the School Act. All trustees are expected to attend every regular and special meeting of the board, as well as all meetings of committees of which they are members unless absence has been previously approved by the board. Non-attendance at meetings results in the deduction from salary of a per diem rate.
The amount of time a trustee dedicates annually varies, states Noreen Radford, Board Chair for Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools.
“It is dependent upon their role on the board and their participation on committees outside of their regular board meeting commitments,” she said.
Trustees receive monthly honorariums for attendance at regularly scheduled board meetings and commitments of $950.22 to $1,137, depending on their role with the board. The chair receives the larger sum.
Payment for participation in meetings beyond those covered by honorariums is at a per diem rate of $80 for a half-day, $160 for a full day and $240 for an extended day.
Each trustee also receives $1,800 annually to cover office expenses.
Trustee remuneration is reviewed annually as part of the district’s budget process and is disclosed publicly on its website.
According to Radford, members of the Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools board of trustees are responsible for the development of goals and policies to guide the delivery of educational services for students’ resident to the district, consistent with government legislation and the values of the electorate.
Specific responsibilities include dealing with planning, policy review and development, board/superintendent relations, fiscal responsibility, provincial government accountability, political advocacy, faith advocacy, and accountability to the community they represent.