While the Payson High School Longhorns compete athletically against the likes of Blue Ridge, Round Valley, Show Low, Snowflake, etc., academically they compete against schools much closer in proximity like Fountain Hills, Scottsdale and Mesa.
Take a look at the amenities, facilities and salaries of schools a short ride south on Arizona Route 87 (as opposed to a long ride east on Arizona Route 260) … with the continuation of the school override election defeated, how will the Payson Unified School District compete to attract and retain caring, competent and professional educators into its classrooms?
Put another way, if you were a “master” teacher, would you prefer to teach in Fountain Hills, Scottsdale or Mesa for $3,000 to $5,000 more per year compared to salaries in Payson? Rodeos, pine trees and blue skies are nice, but they won’t pay the mortgages of teachers or buy groceries for their families.
The bottom line, voters did a disservice to our Payson Unified School District students and educators by voting not to continue the budget override. Payson pupils and teachers can compete on a level field, but I fear our side of the playing surface is tilted in a negative direction.
Richard K. Meszar