Override Critical To Good Education

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Editor:

I read Mr. Keyworth's article of March 2 in which Mr. Weissenfels said the Office of the Auditor General's analysis shows that (the Payson Unified School District) has its priorities straight.

I disagree.

I don't believe PUSD spending the second lowest of the 14 districts on transportation is a good thing.

Additionally, I have grave concerns about the unequal distribution of benefits, particularly health care benefits, within the district. This implies a lack of team effort. On a team, everyone sacrifices when times are lean, not just those in the trenches (i.e., classrooms and buses).

I also am concerned about the apparent lack of voice for the teachers. Why was the arbitration process between RCMS principal, Frank Larby, and his staff discontinued last year? Did Mr. Weissenfels really believe the problems at RCMS would go away? Now, they have reached a crisis point in the suspension of three senior certified members, causing a direct negative impact on the students in those classrooms.

As a parent my primary concerns are: 1) the quality of instruction my children receive, and 2) the safety of my children when in the district's care.

Regarding my first concern, numerous studies have shown that the smaller the teacher to student ratio, the better the instruction. We cannot keep paring down the number of teaching positions in our district. This is instructional suicide.

With respect to my second concern, a very much overlooked segment of our district personnel is the group responsible for transporting our children to and from school. I was told by a bus driver that last year the full-time drivers were given a .07 an hour raise. This is insulting. Seven cents an hour is a raise of less than three dollars a week for a standard 40-hour week. These are the folks in charge of keeping our kids safe on buses with no seat belts that travel regularly on the highways. Yet, obviously, their value is not perceived by the district.

As a parent and member of the community, I urge -- make that passionately plead -- that each and every one of my neighbors vote yes on the override so that we can keep our teachers. But, once this is achieved, we must get involved and get our school board to revisit the budget and redistribute the monies to the two segments in the district without which there would be no education, those responsible for delivering instruction and those charged with getting our children to and from their schools safely.

Patricia Arbaugh-Wisner, Payson

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