Time To Invest In Education

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While standing in line at Wal-Mart last week my wife and I ran into a local teacher purchasing supplies for her students.

The cashier said she sees many teachers in the Rim country regularly spending their own money for supplies and other items that improve their classrooms and extracurricular activities.

I suspect this is common throughout Arizona, which ranks almost dead last in the nation for education funding.

As teachers, coaches, music instructors and administrators raid their piggy banks to get the tools they need to educate our children, school boards are siphoning budgets already running on fumes.

The Pine-Strawberry School Board recently made tough decisions to correct a $60,000 budget shortfall. They found it necessary to cut a librarian position, combine grades into a multi-age classroom, and reduce music and band programs.

I am disappointed, but after speaking to board members and administrators, I understand they had few other options to make ends meet.

Our state legislators do a lot of talking about improving education funding, but from where we sit in rural Arizona, little has really been done.

Until real action is taken at the State Capitol, we need to press forward and do what we can to help our children get the best education possible.

Pine and Strawberry residents should seriously consider a budget override similar to what Payson voters approved last year.

It's also time to take a hard look at reducing administrative costs by consolidating the Pine-Strawberry School District with Payson Unified School District.

Working together as residents and communities, we can make a difference for our children. What better investment can a we possibly make?

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