School's Override Request Deserves Positive Response

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Times are tight. Gas prices are high; the cost of food is going up. Health care costs continue to rise.

Will an extra annual $82 in the pocket of property owners make that much of a difference in personal bottom lines?

Not likely.

That $82 will make a big difference for Payson Unified School District.

The district will ask voters to decide whether Payson schools will continue to receive about $1.3 million a year over their base operating budget, for the next five years. The district is placing a budget override question on the November general election ballot.

The request is for reauthorization of a budget override approved in 2004.

The money is to maintain programs, not expand them, district officials say.

For the average taxpayer, approving the $1,336,000 request will not result in a tax increase since an override already exists. The average taxpayer would continue to pay an extra $82 annually on their property tax bill.

District officials say music programs, elementary gym classes, certified librarians, and small class sizes depend on continuing the override.

Studies show music programs improve math skills.

Gym classes in elementary schools provide an outlet for all the extra energy youngsters generate while sitting in the classroom, the classes also introduce children to a variety of new experiences, some of which may develop into lifetime recreational pursuits. Gym also helps children build self-confidence, learn the value of teamwork, enjoy the exhilaration of competition and rewards of fair play.

The district eliminated elementary physical education programs once before, which led to some classroom teachers incorporating sports and gaming skills into their curriculum. This resulted in a hodgepodge approach to what should be an important part of elementary education.

School libraries are doorways to the world outside our schools. Certified librarians are the people who are trained -- and best suited -- to guide children into that world. Eliminate the librarians and children will get only a small glimpse at all the possibilities that await them and their future potential.

"We're not looking at new programs, we're looking at maintaining programs," Superintendent Casey O'Brien said.

When the question is before you to let the Payson Unified School District continue its budget override, answer, "Yes."

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