Salaries were raised even as school closures are discussed

Editor, The Record:

Re: New group of trustees should be elected, Jan 20 edition

Thank you, Mr. Keis, for exposing some of the behaviours of management officials in regard to school closures and in how board meetings are conducted.

The day after the first meeting regarding closure of Durieu school, a facilities worker was sent to the school to measure the windows for plywood to cover the windows while staff were in session. At the meeting, the night before, staff were told no final decision had been made.

For a facilities staff that has been virtually cut in half and have their hands full to maintain schools, could this measurement not have been taken after the decision was final? Superintendent Frank Dunham stated this was done because trustees wanted to know the cost of closing a school. Since four schools have already been closed, I am sure this information would be available in the financial and work order records.

Financial figures released by the district for 2010 again reveal increases in income for senior management staff. For example, Dunham received another 11 per cent raise amounting to an additional $17,541 per year. He received a raise last year of 14.6 per cent ($20,344 increase). His income is now $176,906 per annum. If the district can afford these raises, why are we shutting down programs, reducing student support and closing schools? These raises are approved by the trustees.

Carrie McVeigh stepped into the position of secretary treasurer this past year and Dunham said releasing Roy Daykin from this position would save the district money. He, however, forgot to calculate or reveal the severance package that Daykin received. Customarily they are either one or one and a half years wages. So instead of saving us this money, we are paying double the salary as McVeigh is now making the salary of a secretary-treasurer. The district reported Daykin’s wages for the year 2010 to be $159,710.

I agree with Mr. Keis that we need a change in trustees, not only to have the “courage and fortitude to fight for children and parents, stand up to management, and be more supportive of teachers and support staff” but also to know where to get information as to how the district is coping. When I asked one board member last year where their information was coming from, I received the answer that it was coming from the superintendent.

I am not sure I agree with Mr. Keis that this district has any fears. If they did, they should be shaking in their boots simply from the embarrassment of taking from our students while their pockets keep being filled.

Edie Lissimore

Mission