Pusd Override, Another Viewpoint

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Editor:

A recent contributor to Mail Call proclaimed that the override proposed by the Payson Unified School District should be passed by voters to promote economic activity in Payson.

However, the author neglected to say where the money to pay for the override was to come from. It will come from an increase in property tax paid by homeowners, including retirees on fixed incomes, renters and businesses, many of whom have already gone out of business, resulting in a negative impact on economic activity.

Many wage earners in Payson have had their pay cut or eliminated due to economic conditions. Government entities, including the Town of Payson, have reduced costs to bring expenses in line with declining revenues.

Meanwhile, the PUSD is in the process of completing the expenditure of nearly $30 million of taxpayer money for a capital spending program, paid for with previously issued bonds. The proposed override will raise property taxes another $1.2 million during the first year of implementation and over $8 million during the seven-year life of the override.

With annual operating revenue of approximately $25 million, perhaps the district’s administration and school board should become more creative in the management of the district’s finances, but without jeopardizing core educational standards.

The most recent available statistic from the Arizona Department of Education Finance Department for FY 2008 indicates that the average class size of the district is 17 students. As an example, an increase in class size to 22 students for a 2,676 enrollment, with an average annual teacher wage and benefits of approximately $35,000, would generate nearly $1.2 million in annual savings sufficient to cover the cost of the proposed override. All financial alternatives should be evaluated in lieu of a property tax increase.

Let the taxpayers decide!

Jim Hippel

Citizens Awareness Committee

Comments

Kyle Frewin 5 days, 5 hours ago

Payson resisdents have been paying for an override for the past 15 years all the while PUSD has been speding the money foolishly. A yes vote this November will add several more years to the override enablement of PUSD. Payson Schools are once again asking for more money through an extension of an override. Why would anyone ever vote in favor of another override for Payson Schools after witnessing time after time PUSD's wasteful and shameless use of tax payer's dollars? PHS, which was once rated as an "A" school by the AZ Dept of Ed., has dropped to a "C". While rated as an "A" school, Brenda Case was hired (at $88,000 a year) as Director of Student Achievement. Anna VanZile was not rehired as principal, but paid a principal's salary as an Achievement Coordinator to coach teachers. (to coach teachers?) Another $150,000+/- only to have scores drop and the PHS rating drop. In addition a new position of Assistant Principal was added. At the same time veteran teachers were forced to leave or "riffed" because of their "high salary" (Ha...less than half that of the administrators). So the philosophy was, get rid of veteran teachers, hire more administrators and watch the scores soar. Result...dropped from and "A" to a "C" and teachers are struggling with large classes and no support. Once again, PUSD wants us, the tax payers, to vote for an override? In previous overrides and bonds the funds have not always gone to the designated areas. Voting "no" will not disadvantage the kids...it will help PUSD cut some "fat". Until PUSD can manage money more wisely, vote "NO" on the override or else be prepared to watch how they waste the money this time?

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