I support the school budget override, as I feel it is vital to Payson. As the father of four school-aged daughters, I would like to respond to some of the arguments against the school override.
I disagree with the notion that the budget problems are purely the result of school district mismanagement and corruption. Both district and school board officials point to a crisis requiring the override. Education is significantly underfunded by the state, and the district has already eliminated both staff and programs.
I know several individuals who moved to the Valley or stopped teaching because of inadequate salaries and declining benefits. The education system in Payson has reached a critical point: it cannot improve and will only decline unless additional revenue is found.
Some have argued that it will cost too much money, and individuals without school-aged children receive no benefit. There are times when we must invest a little to avoid paying more later.
If the education system in Payson does not improve, the individuals needed to provide basic services will decide not to move here, and those here will leave. Your doctor, dentist, and chiropractor will either move or become even harder to see. The hospital will have fewer qualified nurses, aides, technicians and therapists to care for you when you are sick. Your mechanic, banker, store clerk, waiter or waitress, video rental clerk, etc. will move to where the schools are better.
You will have fewer services than you used to, but the cost of living will increase.
Prices at restaurants, retail stores, and other businesses will rise to entice workers to move here. Sales tax rates will increase because sales have decreased and the town needs revenue, yet the police and fire departments will be understaffed, so your safety will be compromised.
As the education level declines, poverty and crime will increase. As the economy falters, your property values will decrease, but property tax rates will be increased to make up the shortfall. The quality of life in Payson is directly linked to the quality of education and learning, and all residents of Payson and the surrounding communities are directly affected.
Our children's education determines their socioeconomic opportunities for the rest of their lives. Like most parents, I have many concerns about the quality of their education. Pointing fingers about who is to blame for the problems in our school district will not solve these problems. The budget override is but the first step to creating an education system that will allow the children of Payson the opportunities they deserve. However, it is an indispensable step. I urge all who have any concern for the welfare of Payson and her children to support the override. Voting against it will hurt the schools, the children, and all who live in this community and use its businesses and services. Please vote ‘yes'.
James W. Schouten, MD, Payson