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'Sunshine' report shows hike in pay for Tri-City school board officials

SOFI report released annually shows superintendent, school trustees received higher indemnities in the 2020/2021 school year
Photo: classroom / Getty Images

It’s costing taxpayers more to pay politicians and top leadership officials to govern schools in the Tri-Cities, according to a recent report.

This week, School District 43 (SD43) released its annual Statement of Financial Information (SOFI) showing top officials made more money during the last school year, ending June 30.

The so-called “sunshine report” shows the salaries of all Coquitlam school district staff who earn $75,000 or more a year.

It reveals that some top officials earned higher pay over the 12-month period, from July 1, 2020, through to June 30, 2021.


  • Superintendent Patricia Gartland was paid nearly 13 per cent more over the 12-month period, or $287,448, up from $254,552 in the 2019-20 school year.
  • Chris Nicolls, secretary treasurer and chief financial officer, earned $221,047 in the 2020-21 school year, up nine per cent from $202,834

(Nicolls leaves at the end of December, to be replaced by Mo Azim, who has been working with Nicolls during a transition period. Azim officially joined the district in August, from his last post as secretary treasure of the Sea to Sky district).


Meanwhile, trustees saw pay raises during the school year too.

All but one school trustee makes more than $50,000, after a four per cent raise was handed to them last January.

Coquitlam trustee Jennifer Blatherwick earned less because she opted out of a pay increase in 2019 to make trustees ‘whole’ after a federal tax exemption was nixed.

Total payouts for the nine trustees cost $23,692 more for the school year ending June 30, 2021, or $485,636.

Salary increases were implemented in January of this year without discussion because of a school board policy, explained district spokesperson Ken Hoff.

“Trustee indemnity is adjusted annually on January 1st and is based on the average of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, and Port Moody councillors’ indemnity information available at that time,” stated communications manager Ken Hoff in an email to the Tri-City News.

Here’s what SD43 trustees earned during the last fiscal year:


  • Jennifer Blatherwick: $45,432.63
  • Carol Cahoon: $54,012.80
  • Barb Hobson: $54,012.80
  • Craig Woods: $55,118.08


  • Kerri Palmer Isaak (chair): $59,413.99

Port Moody

  • Lisa Park: $54,012.80
  • Keith Watkins: $54,012.80

Port Coquitlam

  • Christine Pollock, $54,012.80
  • Michael Thomas (vice-chair): $55,608.11 


Once the SOFI report is approved, it will be posted on the district’s website.

It shows that there was an increase in total payouts for higher-paid school employees.

Last year, payouts for school employees earning $75,000 or more — including teachers, administrators, managers and specialist teachers — increased about 4.5 per cent ($269.8 million for the fiscal period up from $257.9 million).

However, the increases noted in the SOFI report may not reflect annual pay, according to communication manager Ken Hoff.

“It is important to note that SOFI reports are based on the fiscal year which may distort the remuneration value somewhat depending on pay schedules and how many pay periods are included in the fiscal period, for example,” he explained.