Winnipeg school divisions spending less on admin, but superintendent salaries rising

As school divisions across the province pass their budgets for the 2019/20 year, many are looking at cutting costs.

The matter of administrative costs has been particularly notable, since the Manitoba government warned of claw-backs if boards raised property taxes above their capped rate of two per cent.

Global News poured over previous budget documents from the six school divisions in the city and found that while divisions continue to spend less of their overall budgets on administration, the salaries of their superintendents are climbing.

For example, in the 2009/2010 school year, Winnipeg School Division’s admin costs took up three percent of the budget. For the 2016/2017 year it dropped to 2.7 per cent.

Meanwhile, Chief Superintendent Pauline Clarke’s salary climbed about 27 per cent in five years. In 2012 she was pulling in $209,756. It rose to $266,040 in 2017.

Superintendent salaries rise from 2012 – 2017:

  • St. James-Assiniboia Chief Superintendent: $166,768 to $180,114
  • Louis Riel School Division Superintendent of Schools: $208,506 to $227,332
  • WSD Chief Superintendent: $209,756 to $266,040
  • Pembina Trails: $174,231 to $193,775
  • River East Transcona: $152,776 to $198,992
  • Seven Oaks: $186,699 to $196,979
  • Story continues below

Not only does each school division have a head superintendent, they also have assistant superintendents. The combined superintendents and assistant superintendent salaries for all six school divisions cost taxpayers a total of $4,309,120 in 2017.

Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen said it’s important to look at the value we are getting for our tax dollars.

“I think that taxpayers would expect that superintendents, because they have an important job, would be paid fairly. I think what’s been happening over the last little while is that fairly has become a little more exorbitant. That’s where I would encourage not just school divisions but anyone in the public service to be mindful of that and to be careful of that,” he said.

“Where are you spending your money is important and it signals where your values are. If you’re spending it all on top-end administration then I think it can say a lot of signals of what is valued in the individual divisions.”

Top: Pauline Clarke (WSD), Brett Lough (SJSD), Brian O’Leary (Seven Oaks)Bottom: Kelly Barkman (RETSD), Chrisitan Michalik (LRSD), Ted Fransen (PTSD)

For comparison, Premier Brian Pallister’s most recent salary disclosure shows he’s making $160,411 while Mayor Brian Bowman pulled in $185,870.

While making their budgets this year some school division trustees were vocal saying the province was forcing divisions to make tough choices to balance the budgets.

Listen: CJOB host Hal Anderson questions Wasyliw about WSD’s claims of poverty

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On Monday WSD trustees were frustrated when they passed the upcoming budget.

Trustee Mark Wasyliw spoke out saying more money was needed to support valuable programming.

“There’s no where else to cut. We are at the end of the line,” he said.

“If this continues, we will have to cut valuable programs that will have direct impact on the delivery of classroom services.”

Global News reached out to all six divisions for a comment on this story and were denied interviews.

Todd MacKay from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says all publically funded organizations need to be looking at where costs can be trimmed.

“In Manitoba things are still very tight. If you go to any small business raises aren’t automatic, they happen when it’s possible. I’m always concerned when I see that it looks like it’s automatic,” he said.

“We need folks at the top to show some leadership. Everyone’s tightening their belts a little bit but folks at the top need to show leadership and tighten their belts as well.”

Chief and assistant superintendent salaries 2017:

St. James-Assiniboia School Division

Chief Superintendent: $180,114

Asst. Superintendent: $155,383

Asst. Superintendent: $149,636

Louis Riel School Division

Superintendent of Schools: $227,332

Asst. Superintendent: $163,553

Asst. Superintendent: $172,357

Asst. Superintendent: $164,807

Asst. Superintendent: $163,638

River East Transcona School Division

Superintendent/CEO: $198,992

Asst. Superintendent: $164,718

Asst. Superintendent: $163,665

Asst. Superintendent: $169,792

Asst. Superintendent: $164,330

Seven Oaks School Division

Superintendent: $196,979

Asst. Superintendent: $155,808

Asst. Superintendent: $155,808

Asst. Superintendent: $155,808

Pembina Trails School Division

Superintendent: $193,775

Asst. Superintendents 1: $158,023

Asst. Superintendents 2: $158,991

Winnipeg School Division

Chief Superintendent: $266,040

Superintendent: $100,000

Superintendent of Education Services – Curriculum and Learning Innovation: $184,299

Superintendent of Planning and System Services: $184,299

Superintendent of Education Services – Equity and Diversity, Inclusive Education: $167,792

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