Three Seats Up For Election On School Board

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Voters looking to shake up local government can aim at their school board this November.

In Payson, of the three seats up for election — Charles Brown, Don Engler, and Mike Horton — none of the incumbents will run.

Four people have filed to run for the three positions — Richard Arthur Meyer Jr., Barbara Underwood, Matthew VanCamp and Buzz Walker.

“I’ve always had a general interest in the school system,” said Buzz Walker, who is also Payson’s public works director. He wants to help attract and retain good teachers and administrators and also expand the alternative school, Payson Center for Success.

“That’s one of Payson’s hidden jewels,” he said.

Barbara Underwood said she’s been involved with the school district off and on for 30 years, and her time included running the Character Counts program.

“I don’t have a specific agenda,” she said. “We need to see that decisions are made that are in the best interest of our children.”

Meyer and VanCamp were unavailable for comment before press time.

In Pine, incumbent Margaret Parker will run again. Diane Nathe-Roeder and Michelle Susan Wintrich have filed to run. Three spots are open. Pine board members Katie Parks and Mike Roggenstein are not running.

In Tonto Basin, board member Sheri Kovar’s term is up, and she is not running. Katy Conway Taylor and Pat Taylor are competing for one open position.

All school board positions last four years. Gila Community College board members, however, serve six years.

In GCC District 2, Larry Stephenson’s term is up and he will run again, uncontested. In GCC District 3, Mike Pastor’s term is up but he will not run. Armida Bittner and Roberta Johnson will compete for that seat.

Also in November, voters will decide whether to continue Payson Unified School District’s $1.4 million maintenance and operations budget override. If not approved, the money would decrease by one-third during the 2009-2010 school year, and by another third the year after that.

A homeowner with a home worth roughly $200,000 would continue to pay $82 annually on his property taxes.

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