Public school board trustees vote in a healthy bump in remuneration; will they work any harder or were they always underpaid?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 24, 2014



Burlington is going to elect four school board trustees to the 11 member Halton District School Board. Of the four, incumbent Jennifer Hlusko has decided to run as a city Councillor and Diane Bower has retired.

Amy Collard was acclaimed and Kristen Lockhead is running for re-election.

There will be a trustee that will represent wards 1 and 2
Mary Dilly, Leah Reynolds and Judy Worsley are going after that seat. Dilly has been a candidate for public office in the past; Leah Reynolds got a very strong endorsement from Ward two Councillor Marianne Meed Ward.

There will be a trustee that will represent wards 3 and 6
Andrea Grebenc, Michael Kukhta, Denise Nacev and Timothy Timar are in the race for the trustee seat for wards three and six.

There will be a trustee that will represent ward 4, Kristen Lockhead is seeking re-election, Richelle Papin and Margo Shuttleworth are challenging the incumbent.

The trustee that will represent ward 5 was acclaimed. Amy Collard was also acclaimed in 2010. She has served as Chair of the Board in the past


A full stop - and no using the cell phone.

Getting students to school safely is a major task; the Burlington schools still need crossing guards.

Current chair Kelly Amos informs us that the Trustees of the HDSB are responsible for the public school system covering all of Halton (Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills), which is made up of 103 schools, over 60,000 students and approximately 5,500 employees. Those numbers increase every year. One of the responsibilities of Trustees is the approval and making sure of the compliance of the operating and capital budgets. The 2014 -15 operating budget for the HDSB totals $664.3 million and the capital budget totals just over $50 million.

She adds: As a basis of comparison, from their respective websites, the City of Burlington whose capital and operating budgets combined are $204.8 Million. The Councillors’ salaries are $51,000 for local and $48,700 for regional, for a combined salary of $99,700 and the mayor’s is a combined salary of $122,594. The Town of Oakville’s combined capital and operating budget is $264.1 million and for salary the local councillor’s is $45,737, the local regional Councillors is $88,514 and the Mayor’s is $116,693. Milton’s combined budgets are $162.2 million and the salaries for the members of council are $28,966 each and for the mayor is $69,954. The Town of Halton Hills combined budgets are $112.4 million and the councillors’ salaries for the next term will be $29,995 each and the mayor’s will be $73,008.

As a bit of history, courtesy of Ms Amos;  in March 2006 the Liberal Government issued a paper Ontario Excellence for All – Respect for Ontario School Trustees and in it states;

AVPS school bldg

The Alton Village public school is a recent addition to the more than 100 schools in the public system.

“School board trustees are the oldest forms of elected representation in Ontario. Since 1807, generations of community-minded citizens have made decisions on behalf of local publicly funded schools, building the foundation of the system we have today. Despite this longevity and contribution, the trustee role is widely under-appreciated and misunderstood.” As well it said “While many trustees volunteer considerable amounts of their time, the importance of informed participation requires a more realistic honorarium to ensure sufficient time is available. Since 1997, the honorarium has been limited to $5000 per year, with chairs and vice-chairs eligible to receive up to $5000 more per year.”

An Ontario Regulation required the formation of a Citizens’ Advisory Committee, which was to recommend to the Board a base amount as well as an attendance amount and distance amount for each member of the Board of Trustees for each year of their term of office. This committee was comprised of parents from all across Halton and decided;
For the period starting December 1, 2006 and ending November 2010, trustee honoraria would be:

Base Amount, Enrolment Amount, Total Amount
Member $ 5,900.00 $ 7,285,59 $ 13,158.59
Chair 10,900.00 9,575.35 20,475.35
Vice-Chair 8,400.00 8,430.27 16,830.47

The current motion that is before the Board to be voted on in September WAS THIS PASSED? is dealing with an amount that was set in 2006 and there has been no increase since then. This motion if approved by the Board will come into effect at the beginning of the next elected Board of Trustees effective December 1, 2014.

Base Amount, Enrolment Amount, Attendance Total  Amount
Member $ 6,324.80 $ 9,445.55 1,000.00 $ 16,770.35
Chair 11,324.80 12,414.15 1,000.00 24,738.95
Vice-Chair 8,824.80 10,929.85 1,000.00 20,754.65

At a school board meeting on September 3rd, the Trustees approved a new rate for trustee honoraria that takes effect December 1, 2014 when the 2014-2018 Board begins its term. Trustees will receive an annual honoraria of $16,770.35 while the Chair will receive a total of $24,738.95 and the Vice-chair a total of $20,754.65.

The base amounts have been increased by the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for the period between July 1, 2010 and April 30, 2014 and the enrollment amounts are based on the 2013/2014 ADE (Average Daily Enrolment) of the Halton District School Board.


Amy Collard has been acclaimed for the ward five public school board seat

Trustees’ salaries come from an enveloped amount of money from the Ministry which is designated for Board Administration and Governance. This means this money is only used for Board Administration and Governance and cannot be used for anything else, and does not take away from any funding for students or program use.

Hlusko H&S

Jennifer Hlusko will be giving up her public school board seat – she is running for the ward six municipal council seat – running against incumbent Blair Lancaster.

Each Trustee can spend a different amount of time on being a trustee. Current Chair Kelly Amos said she typically puts in a 30 – 40 hour week depending on what is going on and what needs to be done.

In the weeks ahead the Gazette will endeavour to interview all the candidates for the public school board. Time just doesn’t permit our covering the Catholic school board.


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5 comments to Public school board trustees vote in a healthy bump in remuneration; will they work any harder or were they always underpaid?

  • greg fabian

    Caroline Alphonso of The Globe and Mail reported on Oct 2 that Ontario’s Liberal government under K. Wynne “is ordering school board trustees to reverse a decision to award themselves pay raises.”

    And that “Education Minister Liz Sandals sent a letter to trustees …. saying the government decided to extend the salary freeze and it would apply to the new slate of trustees that takes over after the Oct. 27 municipal election.”

    Let’s see how this “salary freeze” will play out with public sector negotiations in the near future.

    Did anyone expect this when they elected the Liberals again?

  • henri de beaujoulais

    No on both accounts…

    “What the increased trustee pay will do is make Toronto trustees more comfortable. Period. It will not translate into a better education for kids in Toronto’s public schools, nor will it attract a higher calibre of individual to the office of school trustee.”

    “… So by allowing the trustees to turn their positions into jobs — to make their honorariums look more like salaries — we are taking a step backwards.

    We are making it more likely that our public schools will be stalled by administrative gridlock and less likely that the trustees will ever be seen as the respected community leaders they insist they would like to be.”

  • henri de beaujoulais

    So the Town of Oakville has a budget 30% larger than Burlington ($264M vs $204M)
    Its Councillors earn 14% less than Burlington Councillors. ($88k vs $100k)
    The Mayor of Oakville earns 5% less than our Mayor. ($116k vs $122k)

    For managing a budget that is 30% larger, the representatives of Oakville earn 5 to 14% less than their Burlington Counterparts? Are we comparing apples to apples?

    I would like to see the incoming Burlington Mayor and Council be accountable for their results using the “results based planning”!

  • Thanks for taking the time to interview the school board trustee candidates too! Here is a quote from Charles Pascal: “Given the role education plays in supporting healthy human development during the formative years, the election of school board trustees should trump all other elections”. Charles E. Pascal, Professor, Applied Psychology & Human Development, OISE, University of Toronto

  • Hi Pepper. Thanks for this. Just a correction though. I was a school trustee, actually for the Wards I am now running in again, from 2006 to 2010.
    Thanks! Mary Dilly