Because the slogan of the School Bond Issue campaign is "Payson Kids Count," and because we don't want the headline on Nov. 10 to read "Payson kids don't count," the Payson Roundup is endorsing this ballot item.
The $33 million this bond will create for much-needed repairs of our school buildings is just a drop in the bucket. It will not even begin to address major issues at Payson High School, but it is a start, especially for our elementary school kids.
A "yes" vote will not increase the tax rate. The taxpayers have been paying another school bond for 15 years, and that bond is about to be paid off. For all intents and purposes, a new school bond will simply be a continuation of what you have already been paying.
In the past, the Payson Unified School District has struggled to pay competitive salaries to its teachers. We are far behind other districts in what we can offer teachers and, by extension, have a difficult time attracting and retaining talented teachers to our community. Aware of the problem, any money the school district had for improvements in the past went to salary adjustments.
Meanwhile, the paint peels at Julia Randall Elementary. Tiles mold at Rim Country Middle School. The roof leaks at Payson High School.
For an immediate visceral introduction to the problem, walk into the rock building at Julia Randall Elementary School. Because of old plumbing, visitors, staff and students are greeted with the smell of sewage when they walk into that building.
New plumbing for JRE will be among the repairs scheduled after the bond goes through.
Another problem that will be addressed is the safety issue in the parking lot at Rim Country Middle School. Currently, the confusing traffic flow at the pickup point for students is an accident waiting to happen. One of these days someone is going to get hurt, and it's going to be a child.
At the high school, funds will be used to replace the grass on the athletic fields with artificial turf. In the long term, this will save money in maintenance and reduce the amount of water used by the school district.
As your community newspaper, we see this as an issue that affects all of us -- not just the 22 percent of our population that is under 18. Though good teachers can provide a good education despite cracked windows and leaky ceilings, we should do everything in our power to remove those barriers.
It may be a cliché, but it is true -- children are our future. Let's send them the message that they do count by voting "yes" for the school bond on Nov. 7.
For more information about the school bond visit www.paysonkidscount.org.