School District 54 trustees are bumping their annual stipend this year by 1 per cent.
Provision for the increase was discussed at the school district’s March 9 operations committee meeting. Committee members made no recommendation as to whether the increase should go ahead or not, leaving it up to the full board to decide when trustees met March 23.
And because board members passed no resolution, the increase becomes automatic as of July 1.
“[The] policy reads that trustees will receive a raise equal to consumer price index on an annual basis unless the board passes a resolution to reject the raise,” explained Dave Margerm school district secretary treasurer.
“The board did not approve a resolution to decline the stipend increase. Therefore, trustees will be receiving a one per cent (raise) as of July 1, 2021.”
This is the first increase in two years. Trustees last year decided not to grant themselves a 2.3 per cent increase as based on the consumer price index.
Trustees did vote to increase their annual stipends in 2019 by 19 per cent but that was to offset a change in federal tax law.
Up until that year, a portion of their pay had been considered a non-taxable expense allowance but that was done away with, a move that affected many local governments and school districts.
So to compensate for what amounted to an increase in taxation, trustees voted that double-digit increase.
The increases in 2019 put the chair’s pay at $15,380, the vice chair at $12,817 and the trustee compensation at $11,535.
School board policy is that the consumer price index increase is automatic unless voted down by trustees at their annual March board meeting.
Information provided indicates trustee raises through the consumer price index went through in 2018, 2017, 2014, 2009 and 2001.
Trustees do receive a per diem meal allowance when on official business for meals not provided at an event they are attending, a mileage allowance when traveling on official business and are reimbursed for room costs only when on official business.
Alcohol and gratuities are not regarded as reasonable expenses for reimbursement purposes.