School District Has Bond Surplus

Board approves $15 million Julia Randall Elementary School project


The Payson Unified School District has a $761,000 surplus for its bond construction projects, down from the roughly $1 million Tim Brand with Pinnacle One Consulting quoted in November.

Payson Unified School District Superintendent Casey O'Brien said the surplus could rise again.

"Remember, that number ($761,000) doesn't take into account incoming bond interest, a possible energy savings grant from APS and maybe another $1 million from the state schools facilities board."

O'Brien said the district qualifies for the $1 million in SFB funds, but he does not know yet if the district has been awarded the money.

If the district gets all the money, the surplus could go as high as $2.9 million. O'Brien said.

During the Monday, March 31 special meeting when the news about the surplus was announced, the Payson Unified School District board approved a total cost of just over $15 million for the Julia Randall Elementary School project.

Brand said that plans are to submit requests to the Town of Payson for civil permits for Julia Randall Elementary.

He said that if all goes according to schedule they could begin site preparation by mid-April.

Renovations, remodeling and construction at Julia Randall Elementary School will include a new combination gymnasium-cafeteria, new buildings and special education classrooms as well as covered access to all buildings and a security fence around the school's perimeter.

On Monday, April 7 at 3:30 p.m. the district is holding a groundbreaking ceremony at Julia Randall Elementary School.

"This is an exciting time for the district. Please mark your calendars and attend if at all possible," said a district spokesperson.

In other discussions, board member and Payson Police Chief Don Engler said he wanted the board to reinforce security on all district campuses.

"I would like to see us tighten up our fingerprinting policies for people who have regular access to our campuses, even those people who do not have regular immediate contact with students," he said.

He said the board received a list of proposals for review from the Arizona School Board Association, including the issue of fingerprinting.

"There hasn't been anything locally that concerns me, but it is something I would certainly like the board to look at," he said.

Engler said the focus would be primarily on service and delivery people who are on district campuses three or four times weekly.

In other action, the topic of district administrator salaries raised by O'Brien at the March, 4 board meeting once again surfaced Monday night.

Board member Charles Brown asked the board to draft a letter asking the Arizona School Board Association to urge state legislators to support salary increases for school administrators.

He said that if the district wants to attract and retain quality administrators, state assistance is needed.

O'Brien said he would be happy to draft a letter and have it ready for board review at their next regular meeting.

At an earlier board meeting, O'Brien said there was a disparity in salaries between school administrators in Payson and many other parts of the state.

He said that if the district hopes to attract and retain quality administrators, the district needs to sweeten the pot and make the positions more desirable.

The next regularly scheduled Payson Unified School District governing board meeting is at 5:30 p.m., Monday, April 14 at 514 W. Wade Lane.

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