The net-zero wage increase that teachers were handed at the end of a protracted contract dispute this year has been extended to school district management.
The Kamloops-Thompson School District received a letter from Education Minister Don McRae last week announcing an immediate freeze on management compensation until further notice.
The freeze impacts all non-union staff at the school district, along with all other public sector executives and management, effective Sept. 13 after an order from Finance Minister Mike de Jong.
District Supt. Terry Sullivan said administration is OK with the measures "as long as everybody's being treated the same."
"All our unionized employees, they're getting zero, and as a leader of a system, I cannot in good conscience expect that people in management are going to take wage increases when everybody else is frozen at zero."
That includes the district's trustees, who turned down a hike in remuneration this year.
Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake said despite the province's executive receiving pay hikes earlier this year, this freeze applies to all executives now.
"That (pay hike) was done earlier this year and much of those hikes were people not getting salary increase per se, but they were moving up the step system," Lake said.
He added the freeze includes MLAs and cabinet ministers who have been frozen since 2009.
"So we're trying to show leadership there."
Jason Karpuk, president of Kamloops-Thompson Teachers Association, applauded the move.
"If there's not enough money for people on the ground, why should we give people at the top a raise?"
Sullivan said he does need clarification over pay hikes that occur when employees move through a pay grid.
"Those people who start at the bottom of the (pay) grid understanding they're going to move through the grid, if that's not going to happen, I think that really is going to cause some issues."
The B.C. Principals and Vice Principals Association is also seeking clarification on the matter. President Shelley Green said contracts are different in each school district and run out at different times. Given that, the association wants to know how the freeze will be handled.
Sullivan also expressed concern that unionized staff climbing their contracted salary grid would end up making more than their supervisors.
"Those types of issues could be problematic," said Sullivan. "They can cause morale problems."
Lake said that situation is a possibility, but it can't be helped.
"We think this is important for administrative and senior level staff to show leadership," he said. "We can't expect taxpayers and people who work across government to hold the line if we're not willing to do the same."