The District is in the final phases of allocating the construction bond dollars approved by the voters in 2006. This month, we will be selecting a contractor to build a new Vocational Agriculture Building. Mr. Wendell Stevens, who has built a thriving program and FFA support organization over the last 30 years, will at long last have a facility deserving of the caliber of his program and most importantly one befitting our students. With this facility, we will see this important vocational program thrive.
Security fencing at PHS and Frontier and Payson Center for Success is complete and while we would rather, in an ideal world, have seen dollars go into classrooms, security is our reality and keeping kids safe is always our top priority.
Payson Center for Success has just moved into the old District Office. The great staff and students are thrilled to have the much-needed additional space and a facility that befits their Arizona A+ School status.
Recently, I have been asked by some citizens in our community, why continue to build new facilities if you are looking at big budget cuts from the state? Why not use that money instead of seeking a continuance of the 10 percent override? Also, why build when enrollment is going down? Good questions.
Our construction bond dollars, by statute, can only be used for basically two things: buildings and buses. These dollars can’t pay for furniture, computers, pay the phone bill or be used for teacher salaries and benefits. The cuts to our district from the state that have taken place this fiscal year those on additional cuts that are undoubtedly coming, can be partially offset by a budget override, but not by construction bond dollars.
Regarding enrollment: It has declined about 1.2 percent on average over each of the last five years. That’s not a significant loss in a given year, but over time, it certainly makes it more challenging for us to continue to offer the rich breadth of programs that Payson parents and students value. The reality is that this current state financial crisis may, depending on the outcome of the March override election; result in cuts to staffing and programs. Buildings; however, are built with a vision for the long-term and I’m confident that looking back, the citizens and parents of Payson will be very thankful for the quality facilities that bond dollars made possible.