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!
Citizens Awareness Committee