Citing a “significant compression" between principal and superintendent compensation inconsistent with its recruitment needs, the Rainy River Distict School Board has proposed an "Executive Compensation Program" to "reduce the gap, rectify the inequity, and support succession planning into the future.”
Given this compensation package involves public money, the board is required—and rightfully so—to seek public feedback on its proposal. But while the board is in the midst of seeking such input, one has to wonder if it really wants any.
To even know that the board is seeking public input, one would have had to go to its website by chance and click on the innocuous “Executive Compensation Plan," which is where the board proclaims: "We'd like to hear from you!”
You then would click on “Read the Report,” with a space below to offer your feedback on it (as long as you provide your name and a valid e-mail address). The deadline for said feedback, by the way, is next Tuesday (Jan. 16).
The only reason the Times found out about this, and first reported on it in Friday's Daily Bulletin, was from an anonymous tip via e-mail that the board executive was planning to give themselves generous raises in salary.
Board chair Dianne McCormack stressed the board followed the posting requirements set out by the Ministry of Education for all boards across the province, and is aligned in the posting practice of other school boards in the region.
She also said the board followed its practice of seeking stakeholder feedback by notifying school councils, advisory committees, union representatives, the Student Senate, and schools of the webpage, the link, and the deadline for feedback by memo on Dec. 18—the last week of school before the board took a two-week break for the Christmas holidays.
How the general public—the people who actually will end up paying for this proposed increase—was supposed to find out about this is anybody's guess.
Yes, the board may have followed the letter of its posting requirements but it definitely fell short in following the spirit of them, leaving the distinct impression it was hoping to push through its proposal as quietly as possible.
Taxpayers deserve better than that.