School Board Nixes Override

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Payson schools won’t try again for an override because the economy is too rough, the school board decided Tuesday night.

“There’s tremendous support for schools in the community, but people are hurting,” said Superintendent Casey O’Brien. He had spoken with the override committee that morning, which reached the same conclusion.

Voters flunked the $1.4 million override last November, and the district until Tuesday had seemed ready to ask residents again this November.

This year, the district lost $445,000 as the override reduces by one third each year until it’s gone. It also eliminated 11 positions and district-paid dental insurance to erase its $1 million operations deficit.

If the override had passed last year, the owner of a $200,000 home would have paid roughly $82 per year. District officials said the override would have maintained programs and small class sizes, not expand them.

O’Brien said the Small Café’s recent closing had sent ripples through some segments of the community and that the battering recession “is really hitting in Payson.”

It’s important for schools to not isolate themselves from the community, and to show that they understand its plight, O’Brien added. He said asking for more money now would be counterproductive to the long-term goal of community support.

“It’s not just a dollar amount. It’s the perception of we’ve given and we’ve given and don’t you know what we’re going through,” O’Brien said.

Board members, including Barbara Underwood, who also sat on the override committee, said they agreed with O’Brien.

“Well said,” said member Richard Meyer. “Totally agree.”

The board tabled the measure, leaving open the possibility to ask voters again in future elections to support an override.

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