Payson Education Center Is Closing

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Two of the county's alternative schools for at-risk students, including the Payson Education Center, will close their doors forever at the end of the school year.

Following the arrest and resignation of the Gila County Regional School District's former business manager for allegedly taking money from the district's checking account illegally, new staff advised County Superintendent of Public Schools Linda O'Dell that outstanding issues with both the IRS and the Arizona Department of Revenue about late or non-receipt of certain funds would require the Globe and Payson education center schools to shut down at the end of the 2007-2008 school year.

O'Dell established both schools under the district's umbrella in 2005.

"We are working with both entities to rectify the issues, which date back to portions of 2006 and 2007," said O'Dell.

She said she would work with school officials and the courts to determine and create a new system for educating at-risk and court-involved students in the district as well as those who have either been suspended or expelled from local schools.

O'Dell said that by the end of the year, 50 students will have graduated from the two schools since 2005.

"I am proud of what has been accomplished in our three years of operation and look forward to sharing what we have learned," said O'Dell.

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