Cost of wage increase infuriates trustees

Tamara Cunningham, Nanaimo News Bulletin

The challenge of covering new costs for support staff workers is not only “annoying, it’s infuriating,” says the chairman of the Nanaimo school district.

The Nanaimo school board reluctantly passed a savings plan on Tuesday to cover wage increases for the Canadian Union of Public Employees, but not before trustees slammed the B.C. government requirement as Machiavellian and disingenuous.

The province struck a deal with CUPE for a 3.5-per cent wage increase over two years this September, but left it up to school districts to pay for the unexpected new cost. School boards had until Oct. 15 to submit a cost-savings plan to pay for the wage increase for support staff workers – an estimated $523,454 cost for Nanaimo this year and more than $969,000 in 2014.

While school trustees passed the plan and agreed the wage increase is necessary, they argued school districts shouldn’t be the ones to bankroll the expense. It is unfair and hurts core services for students….