So it’s deep winter and the big lake has a thin, frail crust of ice. You spot a commotion just ahead. A child has fallen through the ice. She’s thrashing about, lunging toward shore — but unable to get clear of the ice.
Do you run immediately to save her? Get involved only if she’s a direct relative? Make some rude comment about how clumsy kids are these days and keep walking?
Well, best decide what you’ll do and who you want to be, because your pop quiz just arrived in the mailbox.
It’s a ballot from the Payson Unified School District, asking for your permission to raise the property tax a tiny amount to save the children of this community from debilitating cuts in their education.
Get that ballot. Vote “yes” on the school override.
The measure would add $12 a year to the tax bill for a $100,000 house — that’s about three cents a day.
The override will feed $1.2 million annually into the district’s $18.7 million budget — a modest boost of about 6 percent.
That money will provide a crucial difference, in a district already facing a growing deficit and dwindling state support. If voters embrace the override, the district will still face significant cuts. But at least those kids will know you heard their cries and came running.
The school board hasn’t yet decided on the actual cuts. If the override fails, the district will likely increase class sizes, eliminate after-school activities and sports, reduce or eliminate classes for the brightest students, lay off teachers and abandon many struggling students.
Only one-time federal stimulus grants this year prevented big cutbacks. Next year with the elimination of federal stimulus, the district’s declining enrollment and the state’s surreal and unending budget crisis ensure a terrible budget year even if the override passes.
Will you now then abandon the children who will inherit our debt and pay for your Social Security and Medicare? This nation’s great hope lies with those children, who need our help now.
We urge Payson school district voters to step forward and say “yes” on the override question.