After two postponements, the Pine-Strawberry school board held its monthly meeting Sept. 23.
During it, the board approved sending three teachers to science, social studies, writing and effective teaching practices workshops in Phoenix and Mesa.
The board also approved the hiring of two substitute teachers and was told by superintendent Mike Clark that the district coffers were in the black, but money is tight.
Clark, however, suspects a reduction in education funding could be just over the horizon.
He says the governor may soon call a special legislative session to discuss a possible $1 billion state deficit and that’s when the ax might fall on education funding.
Budget problems are not unique to Arizona and Pine-Strawberry. The continuing economic downturn has caused many states to reduce education funding.
Florida cut school aid by about $130 per student, Nevada eliminated gifted and talented programs and Rhode Island cut early education funding for 550 children.
In Arizona, however, legislators should be very selective in any education cuts they make.
That’s because, the state already ranks at the very bottom of the national totem pole in per-pupil spending.
It’s painfully obvious, however, that keeping education cuts to a minimum might be a tough sell in the house and senate because there are a number of legislators who have shown by their votes that the welfare of public education is not a priority.
It’s very sad those lawmakers don’t choose to put children’s welfare first when they cast their ballots.
The current enrollment at the school is 140 students.
Blood drive set
The Pine-Strawberry community blood drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 7 at the First Baptist Church.
Event organizer Shari Earp says all donors will be entered into a raffle for a quilt donated by B.J. Mish at The Quilt Shop.
Donors will also be entered into a drawing that has as a prize of two pairs of tickets on the Grand Canyon Railroad.
Earp’s best advice to donors is to be sure to take identification along and to thoroughly hydrate. Her counsel is backed up by United Blood Services, which also recommends drinking plenty of water to make the donation experience, becomes the best it can be.
Also, “Please eat a hearty, low-fat meal before donating,” Earp said.
Walk-ins are welcome.
For more information, call Earp at (928) 476-3655.
The Pine-Strawberry Senior Center will offer flu and pneumonia vaccines from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Oct. 7 and Oct. 14 in the dining room. Appointments can be made by calling (928) 476-4633. The cost, if not covered by insurance, is $30 for the flu shot and $45 for pneumonia. Both vaccines should be covered completely by Medicare B.
Shari Earp says you should not receive either vaccine if you have ever had a serious allergic reaction to eggs or either of the vaccines. Also you should not have the vaccines if you have acute respiratory problems or a history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Also, wear shirt or dress sleeves that can be rolled up to the shoulder.
Candy is dandy
The Pine library is holding a See’s candy holiday fund-raiser to earn money to purchase additional library material.
Order forms are available at the library.
Prepaid orders will be accepted until Oct. 15 for delivery by Nov. 15. There will also be some candy items available for cash-and-carry purchases after Nov. 15.
This will be my last Pine Strawberry Happenings column. During my tenure as a columnist, I have enjoyed making new acquaintances and renewing old friendships.
My thanks to editor Tom Brossart and everyone at the Payson Roundup for making my experiences at the paper enjoyable.
To the community, I realize you are a caring and wonderful group of people. My predecessor, Jodee Smith, will be taking over next week. Jodee is a great lady and I know you will enjoy working with her. She will do well because she is genuinely interested in our communities. Give her a call and let her know what’s happening. Contact Jodee at (928) 476-3561 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.