Nfld. & Labrador

Fundraised money won't pay school secretary salaries: board

The head of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District says money raised by students and parents for schools won't be used to pay secretary salaries this summer.
Darrin Pike, CEO of the province's English school board, says money fundraised by students and parents will not be authorized to pay for secretary salaries. An email from a board staff member ignited a heated exchange in the House of Assembly on Wednesday. (CBC)

The CEO of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District says money fundraised by students and parents for schools won't be used to pay secretary salaries this summer.

In the House of Assembly Wednesday, Liberal MHA Dale Kirby questioned government about an email from ESDNL that if schools wanted to keep secretaries on past June 26, the last day of school, that salary would have to be paid out from "school generated funds."

"In other words, they have to pay for their secretaries with money raised by students and parents from bake sales, walk-a-thons and other school fundraising activities they work hard on all year," Kirby said in the House.

The context of that email was, I guess you're reading it in written word on a page and it probably doesn't tell the full story.- Darrin Pike

Acting Education Minister Derrick Dalley refuted that, saying no salaries of any workers in schools would be paid out of funraised money.

Darrin Pike, the head of the school district, told CBC News Thursday that it seems an email that was sent out from a staff member at the school board had been taken out of context.

"This wasn't about sort of the normal secretary operation," Pike told the St. John's Morning Show. "This was about, there's something special going on, there's an exception, we want some flexibility in how we operate and here's one of them."

Pile said the wording of the email "probably doesn't tell the full story."

According to Pike, the suggestion to use generated funds to pay for secretaries during the summer break would have been given as an option for special events outside of the regular 10-month employment term.

He added there are rules around how schools utilize fundraised money, and it wouldn't be possible to use it for regular salary pay.

"We do have a process and policy around the use of fundraised money that actually goes through our school councils for approval, so no, school would not be permitted to use fundraised money for the use of secretaries."

Monies shouldn't be used for pay

Meanwhile, Peter Whittle, president of federation of school councils, said regardless of policies in place, any money fundraised by students shouldn't pay for any administrative costs. 

He called the email from the school council "disturbing."

"Any money that the school would have generated, whether it be funds for school activities through fundraising by school councils or through rentals, is money that would have been earmarked for activities for schools, for infrastructure in the schools, things that kids need," said Whittle, a former Liberal aide. 

"I'm really disappointed that the board would think for a minute that it's OK and demand that any extra administrative costs should come from money raised for activities in the school or for the school."


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