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More teachers earned six figures in Burnaby last year: report

195 employees, including 22 teachers, made more than $100,000 in 2019/20, according to a school district report, but the Burnaby Teachers' Association says the numbers are misleading
195 Burnaby school district employees earned more than $100,000 last year.
Burnaby’s top school administrator remains the third-highest paid among the heads of the province’s five biggest school districts.

Superintendent Gina Niccoli-Moen earned $263,686 between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020, according to the district’s statement of financial information (SOFI).

By comparison, the CEO of the province’s biggest school district, Surrey superintendent Jordan Tinney, took in $301,827; Vancouver’s Suzanne Hoffman, the superintendent of the second-largest district, made $269,971; Coquitlam’s Patricia Gartland earned $254,553 at B.C.’s third-largest district; and Kevin Kaardal (Niccoli-Moen’s predecessor in Burnaby) was paid $240,378 for his job at BC’s fifth-biggest district, Central Okanagan.

Compared to their counterparts, Niccoli-Moen and Hoffman once again incurred relatively modest expenses for the year at $8,678 and $7,238 respectively.

Tinney, Gartland and Kaardal racked up $75,928, $31,078 and $17,871 respectively.

When it came to increases in remuneration, however, Niccoli-Moen came in second, taking in $9,786 (3.8%) more this year than last.

Kinney got a $15,073 bump, and Kaardal and Gartland saw increases of $4,942 and $4,603 respectively.

Vancouver’s Hoffman, however, saw her pay drop by $6,426, according to that district’s SOFI.

B.C. school districts and other government bodies are required to submit a statement of financial information every year to report the earnings and expenses of all employees who made more than $75,000.

Benefits and pension contributions paid by the district to employees are not included in the SOFI figures.

Burnaby’s five top-paid school district executives besides Niccoli-Moen were:

Secretary-treasurer Russell Horswill: $201,091 ($9,953 expenses); assistant superintendent Roberto Bombelli: $199,808 ($3,301 expenses); assistant superintendent Wanda Mitchell: $198,415 ($5,347 expenses); assistant superintendent Heather Hart: $192,843 ($3,014 expenses); and assistant superintendent Richard Per: $191,397 ($5,455 expenses).

The SOFI list was originally intended to capture high public sector salaries, according to Horswill, but he noted the $75,000 threshold has remained the same for “many, many years.”

The number of district staff who now make more than $75,000, including not just administrators but classroom teachers, has increased substantially.

Last year, for example, the district’s average teacher salary cost was actually well above the threshold – at $79,493.

And there were a total of 195 employees listed on the 2019/20 SOFI who made more than $100,000.

Most were district and school administrators, but 22 teachers also took in six-figures – up from eight the year before.

The Burnaby Teachers’ Association says those numbers are misleadingly high and would like to see the province revisit the $75,000 reporting threshold.

“There are a number of factors that could result in higher reported figures in regards to annual earnings for teachers,” he wrote in an emailed statement. “For example, a teacher may have received a lump sum WorkSafe payment or may teach in additional areas outside of K-12.”

The total remuneration for teachers who retired last year after working in the district full time for more than 10 years could also include a long-service gratuity based on years of service.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor