by Herb Weissenfels
payson district school superintendent
Every child learns through a little different means, and in America, we as parents and schools are challenged to find a student's most efficient method of learning to motivate our students to learn.
Consequently, the Payson educational community provides many means for motivating students in their areas of interest consistent with recent research that supports Dr. Gardner's seven levels of intelligence and learning styles.
Part of this motivational support includes providing opportunities for non-required athletic and fine arts programs. They are offered to motivate and encourage students to enjoy school and are of high interest to most students. The Payson (School) District has chosen to continue to offer a wide variety of programs while several schools are reducing the numbers of extracurricular and fine arts programs due to cost.
Without a doubt, these programs are expensive and financial support comes from many diversified sources -- booster clubs, donations, Credit for Kids, gate receipts, district budgets, etc.
From the district level, only the district budget is planned and controllable by the governing board and administration. These are the funds raised through property taxes. The 1999/2000 budget called for expenditures of $441,793 for athletics and $368,538 for fine arts. When evaluating these costs, keep in mind that if we didn't have athletics, we would still have these classroom teachers, but if we did not choose to offer a fine arts program we would not have these teachers. The budgeted athletic appropriation is $142 per participant or 1.1 percent of the budget. There have been 994 after-school athletic participants compared to 430 participants in the total fine arts program.
The fine arts programs expend $857 per participant or 3.16 percent of the entire budget. All figures include travel, salaries, benefits and supplies. What is not considered are donations, clubs, fees, etc. that also voluntarily support these programs.
All in all, both programs have been generously supported financially, and consequently all students have the opportunity to develop their interests and talents to the maximum. These programs help make schools a pleasant place to be for students.