In the July 14 edition of the Payson Roundup, there was an article in regards to the $33 million bond election including listing of the agriculture building no longer being used because of its poor condition. I'm unhappy to report that an agriculture building will no longer be a part of this bond that the Town of Payson will be voting on this November.
The Agriculture Education Department was created in 1980, and given that very building that was condemned last year. At the time, the building was deemed "temporary" by then Principal Sharky Baker, until funding for a suitable agriculture facility could be generated. As anyone else who's spent any kind of time in the original agriculture building would also tell you, that building should have been condemned a long time ago. Now, some 26 years later, the Agriculture Education Department is not only without a classroom, but is again getting passed over for funding.
As an agriculture teacher at another high school, and having the opportunity of visiting numerous other agriculture education departments in the state of Arizona, I can honestly tell you that the facilities available to Ag at Payson High School are so substandard, that we are doing a disservice to the students.
This May, I will be back in Payson for my 10-year high school reunion, and I can honestly say that a lot has changed in 10 years. But one thing that has remained and will continue to remain constant is the need for food, water, clothing, lumber, and numerous other products that agriculture provides. If the Payson Unified School District would truly like to prepare students to be productive citizens and workers, they will find a way to support agriculture education.
Eric Stevens, Agriculture Education Instructor, Millennium High School; PHS class of 1997, Goodyear