School commissioners in Sorel-Tracy, Que., have unanimously agreed to take a 10 per cent salary cut in order to give students at its schools better services.
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The highest-paid commissioner is the school board president, who receives about $18,000 a year. The other commissioners receive between $6,000 and $8,000 annually.
Commissioner Sylvie Labelle suggested the idea. Although it’s a drop in the school board’s $70-million bucket, she said it’s the symbolism that matters.
“The government says, ‘No, no, we are not cutting student services, we’re trimming the fat,’” she said. “But now there’s no more fat!”
The commissioners will invest $3,370 in students services between now and the Nov. 2 school board election.
After that, it’s up to the commissioners elected on Nov. 2 to decide whether to continue.
The Sorel-Tracy school board adopted a deficit budget this year, and restricted spending on tutoring, new books and school activities. It chose to maintain spending on psychologists and other student counsellors.
“It will definitely have a domino effect on students’ success rates,” Labelle said.
The education ministry saluted the Sorel-Tracy commissioners’ initiative, but underlined that budgets for student services must not be touched even with the current government cuts.
The move comes just over a week after Education Minister Yves Bolduc made controversial comments about school library funding.