I am writing in response to Mr. David L. Tovar's recent letter to the editor against the upcoming School Override Extension Initiative. I would like to shed some facts on some of the things the override does for our students and teachers.
First of all, the override provides several teaching positions, namely physical education at the elementary schools. If the override extension is defeated, our children will no longer benefit from what I consider to be one of the best physical education programs in the state at the elementary level.
How can I say this? I helped develop and implement the current level of the program while teaching at Frontier Elementary School as the physical education teacher from 2003-2007. Where else do you find elementary students participating in activities such as archery, rock wall climbing and geocaching? All of which are lifelong activities. Even though I no longer teach within the district, I know the physical education teachers at all three of our elementary school are dedicated and passionate about their profession. Our programs teach units designed to challenge and encourage our students to be lifelong consumers of health and fitness.
Did you know that physical education is considered to be the first line of defense against poor health habits? It is in physical education classes where students learn the importance of taking care of their bodies. Did you know that healthier fit kids have higher averages on test scores such as aims and college entrance exams? Did you know that healthier fit children on average have a higher sense of self image and confidence?
Teachers do in fact pay into the medical insurance programs. My wife is still a teacher within the district, and is singed up on the family plan. We will be paying about $5,000 out of our own pockets into the family insurance plan the school district uses. The override does provide a little relief from this, and I would hate to see how much we will have to pay out of pocket for insurance if the override extension is defeated.
Mr. Tovar wonders why homeowners without children in school are sharing in the responsibility of helping pay (in the form of taxes) for the current children in school. Need I remind him that it was the village responsibility concept that helped pay their way through public education and their children's way through public education?
As far a school tax credit is concerned, Payson schools has one of the best Credit for Kids responses from parents in the state. Our community and parents raised more than $100,000 last year in Credit for Kids donations. Credit for Kids is completely voluntary, and not a mandatory village contribution program. Our parents do help pay into their own children's education as those funds clearly show.
We would do well to vote in favor of the override extension. It provides great opportunities for our students, and yes a little incentive for our teachers and staff.