With the anguish and gnashing of teeth accompanying the possible departure of the Payson Unified School District’s superintendent, to the layoffs of numerous teacher positions, to the dismissal and/or reassignment of school administrators, to the upheaval in the coaching ranks at PUSD, it’s obvious that our local school district is in a state of flux. Why does it seem that there is a constant carousel of personnel changes among administrators, coaches and teachers at PUSD?
One big reason for this constant change is the fact that superintendents, principals, coaches and teachers can command higher salaries in the Phoenix area than they can in Payson. While it’s true we compete athletically against the likes of Blue Ridge, Show Low, Round Valley, etc., it’s also true we compete academically and personnel wise with our near neighbor to the south, i.e., the Valley. Out of economic necessity, educators must look out for the financial interests of their families first and foremost, not the economic best interests of their schools and/or communities.
However, the main reason we have trouble in our Arizona educational system as a whole is our Legislature. Their members are dominated by the GOP and they favor tax cuts for business over over adequate funding for our schools. They adore charter and private schools, and they see education as an expense rather than as an investment. The state GOP has been hostile to public education for decades and the funding levels for education in Arizona have been among the lowest in the country.
How do we extricate ourselves from this educational morass? Vote out all incumbent GOP legislators in November and replace them with Democrats, Republicans or Independents that are supportive of public education in Arizona.
Richard K. Meszar