Tuesday, Nov. 5, a question will appear on the ballot. This question is very important to the Payson Unified School District and to our community college, the Rim Country Learning Center. We, as voters, will be asked whether or not we should allow Payson Schools to join the Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology (NAVIT), which is an established Joint Technological Education District (JTED).
In 1990 the Arizona Legislature approved the formation of joint technological districts. These districts are comprised of two or more public school districts, which exists primarily for two reasons: (1) to assist member districts in upgrading and enhancing their own vocational programs, and (2) to offer students additional career and technical education programs at a community college campus that are too costly to be offered at an individual high school.
The district that Payson Schools would like to join includes schools in Show Low, Snowflake, Holbrook, Joseph City, Winslow, St. Johns and Eagar. Through this district, high schools in these areas have been able to (1) purchase all new computers for computer labs, (2) add a fashion design program, (3) add a commercial art lab, and (4) purchase and update equipment for a food production and culinary arts program.
NAVIT would pay the tuition, books and fees for high school students taking courses offered through the district at our local college so long as they have not yet met the requirements for high school graduation and have not turned 22. Adults may take the same courses and pay their own tuition. In addition, charter, private and home-schooled students may also participate in NAVIT programs provided they live within the Payson District boundaries. These courses will be designed based on the results of high school and adult surveys in the Payson area.
As a parent with two children in the district, I see this as a "win-win" proposition at a nominal cost to myself as a taxpayer. Some students do not plan to attend a four-year university. The NAVIT programs will provide them with the opportunity to receive training and gain employable skills that will make them productive and successful members of the workforce. And they can do it right here at home.
Viki Holmes, Payson