School Finances And Voting

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Editor:

Your "My View" opinions in the March 15, 2005 Roundup were clear, concise and correct. The financial problems of the Pine-Strawberry School District can be mitigated to a degree by the taxpayers approving a budget override and by seriously considering consolidation. A K-12 unified school district in northern Gila County would be positive for the students, parents, taxpayers and teachers in the Payson/Pine/Strawberry areas.

However, even if an override is passed and consolidation took place, the most important area of reforming educational financing in our area would remain. We must discontinue electing senators and representatives who give only lip service to public education.

We have been ill-served for decades by state legislators who verbally tell us at election time how pro-education and pro-students they are, then they vote with the extreme right when they arrive at 1700 W. Washington (State Capitol) to underfund education and erode local control of school districts. We wouldn't need local budget overrides if there was adequate state educational funding.

Vote for the Pine-Strawberry override, vote for and encourage consolidation of the Pine-Strawberry and Payson Unified School Districts, but most importantly, vote only for those candidates (regardless of their party affiliation) that outwardly show a willingness to invest financially in the future of our youth.

I'd love to see past or current school board members from the Payson/Pine/Strawberry areas run for the state legislature. Perhaps real world experience in the arena of school finance would enlighten the frugal and short-sighted lawmakers who currently occupy those positions.

Richard K. Meszar, Ed.D., Whispering Pines

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