Education minister orders review of executive...
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Jan 13, 2015  |  Vote 0    0

Education minister orders review of executive salaries in school boards

Ontario Minister of Education Liz Sandals has asked her officials to review school boards across the province to see if they are breaching Ontario’s public sector wage freeze


Ontario Minister of Education Liz Sandals has asked her officials to review school boards across the province to see if they are breaching Ontario’s public sector wage freeze by paying their executives too much.

The move comes the day after the Toronto District School Board upheld the salary of its director, Donna Quan, even though Sandals has indicated in writing that Quan should not be earning more than her predecessor.

“The minister expects all school boards to be in compliance with the expectations set under the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act (BPSAA) for compensation and has asked the ministry to review the issue to identify possible non-compliant boards,” said Sandals’ spokesperson Nilani Logeswaran.

“It is important to note that the locally elected board of trustees are responsible for negotiating contracts for the director of education at each school board within the parameters of the BPSAA.”

However it is not clear how Sandals plans to handle boards that are breaking the freeze, considering she stopped short of ordering the TDSB to roll back Quan’s salary to that of predecessor Chris Spence.

Sandals did write to new chair Shaun Chen in December indicating that under the wage freeze, Quan’s pay should be limited to that of her predecessor. Quan’s contract, signed in 2013 after the wage freeze had been in place for three years, pays her $289,277, which is $17,000 more than her predecessor Chris Spence.

However Sandals neither demanded the board cut Quan’s pay, nor did Quan offer to take less money. Sandals is awaiting the report of veteran educator Margaret Wilson this week into the TDSB’s turmoil, which will include a review of the director’s contract, said Logeswaran.

During trustees’ four-hour debate Monday night about whether to uphold Quan’s salary, some noted other school boards also have given their directors pay hikes since the wage freeze was imposed by Queen’s Park..

Trustee Sheila Cary-Meagher, who not only supported upholding Quan’s salary but said she believed she deserves more, gave trustees a list of other directors of education whose salaries have gone up despite the wage freeze, as listed on Ontario’s so-called “sunshine list” of provincial salary disclosures.

The District School Board Ontario North East paid its director $206,465 in 2013, up from $199,974 in 2012. That board has 7,534 students.

The Hamilton-Wentworth public board director earned $236,769 in 2013, up from $231,981 in 2012. That board serves roughly 50,000 students.

Cary-Meagher accused the province of singling out the Toronto public board, although Sandals wrote to the TDSB because the board asked her for clarification.

Some trustees argued the TDSB should not have to abide by the freeze when other boards aren’t.

However Trustee Jerry Chadwick argued that just because other boards are getting away with it, does not mean it’s right.

“I always say do the right thing when no one’s looking,” he said. “I think we have to be role models for our kids.”

Quan’s salary was negotiated by former TDSB Chair Chris Bolton. Trustees unanimously approved a motion Monday by Trustee Shelley Laskin that in future, any change to a director’s salary beyond the guidelines agreed upon must go to the entire board for approval.

Toronto Star

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(2) Comment

By StatusQuoContinues | JANUARY 14, 2015 09:29 AM
All public sector saleries should be made public for everyone to see. If your ashamed to show how much you make, than clearly you are making to much. If your ashamed thats your conscience telling you your making to much for the work your actually doing.
By StatusQuoContinues | JANUARY 14, 2015 09:22 AM
Are the results going to be made public for everyone to see???????. It's time citizens be allowed to follow the money trail and actually see which pockets are being lined. Only once citizens can see the waste can we stop it...........Lets start at the top and work our way down.
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