Board Decision On Stipend Is Disheartening


It makes sense that the Payson School Board would render the morale-busting decision to turn down Superintendent Ron Hitchcock’s recommendation to award teachers a one-time $1,000 stipend and instead give them $750.

After all, this is the same school board that puts its stamp of approval on forcing Payson High coaches to ask team members to solicit funds to pay coaching salaries.

This is also the same school board that condones raiding Credit for Kids funds to use for coaching salaries.

Both of those highly questionable practices not only leave coaches cringing; they are as much a morale-breaker as was the decision to cut the stipend by $250.

Some of the current members were also on the board years ago when it decided to take school bond money designated to revamp a deteriorating PHS baseball field and instead use it for other purposes.

Most alarming is that when voters passed the bond, they were told some of the money would be used to recondition the baseball field that was in such bad shape, some schools refused to play here.

With no money to revamp the field, the head baseball coach, several parent-volunteers and players donated their time and money, spending an entire summer upgrading the worn down playing field, dugouts and bleachers.

At the board meeting in which the superintendent’s recommendation was ignored, member Matt Van Camp thankfully had the courage to speak out and argue the board should do the right thing and give teachers the full $1,000.

“A bunch of babies,” he grumbled after members settled on the lesser stipend amount.

Just days prior to the past school board election, one of the candidates revealed he was running because it didn’t appear to him the board “had any soul.”

His observation was validated by the decision to not award the full $1,000 to teachers.

The lack of soul also took center stage three years ago at a board meeting in which then-PHS assistant principal Tim Fruth addressed members regarding the non-renewal of his contract.

Midway through Fruth’s personal appeal, the board chairman stopped him in mid-sentence scolding him because his time had elapsed.

Befuddled, Fruth could only reply that after 29 years of loyal service to the district as a teacher, coach and administrator, he believed he should have a few extra minutes to share his feelings.

Of course, he didn’t receive them.

The board’s decision to cut the stipend strikes at the very reason there are highly qualified teachers in all the academic areas who refuse to teach in the Payson district.

Good educators don’t teach and coach to be disrespected, and that’s exactly what the board’s decision was — a big-time dose of insolence.

Shame on them.

Talkin’ turkey

The Tonto Rim Sports Club will be awarding 35 to 40 turkeys to winners of a Turkey Shoot set for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 17 at the Jim Jones Shooting Range south of Payson.

Shooters can enter four competitive options — archery, handgun, rifle and shotgun with slugs.

Entrants should bring their own rifles, pistols or bow and arrows, but those who don’t own a shotgun with slugs may borrow one from TRSC member Ed Niebch.

The fee is $2 per shot.

For more information, call Niebch at (928) 468-9075.


John Lemon 4 years, 2 months ago

Mr. Foster, I congratulate you for expressing an opinion held by many, many of us in the community. The majority of the current Board (the "new" Board not being seated ) have made some decisions over the past three years that have been lacking in good judgment, professionalism, and common decency. Those who were involved in those pathetic decisions seem to want to continue making pathetic decisions. The current Board President was one of the movers in the past and continues on the same road. The recent decisions regarding Coaches, athletics/co-curricular activities, staff pay, etc., are just more of the same. Hopefully the new Board majority will demonstrate better vision. Thank you for bringing these issues to the public arena.


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