The Payson School Board took a chance on Monday and approved a roughly $35,000 increase in stipends paid to coaches and faculty members who give their time and energy on students who participate in after-school sports and other activities.
High School Activities Director Don Heizer undertook a research project that allowed him to compare the stipends paid to coaches in comparable rural districts. Generally, the survey revealed that even by the stingy calculus of most coaching positions, the district underpays the teachers and helpers who make these programs possible.
Study after study has documented the enormous benefits of such activities. These programs get kids excited about school. They teach invaluable lessons in persistence, high standards, discipline, teamwork and a host of other qualities essential to a person’s success in life. Moreover, lots of evidence shows that even academic test scores rise when students get engaged and excited.
So we’re delighted that the school board recognized the amazing work of these teachers and mentors.
Alas, the board scrounged the money from this year’s installment of forest fees, which the federal government fitfully provides to compensate rural districts burdened by immense chunks of non-property-tax-paying federal lands. The district doesn’t expect to get forest fees in the upcoming budget year, thanks to federal budget cuts and freezes.
So the school board members took pains to underscore that they only have the money to boost the fees for one year. After that, they’re hoping this generous, great-hearted community will come to the rescue of our kids and teachers through Credit for Kids donations.
We know you’ll step up — as you always do, seeing as how the best folks in the country live right here in Rim Country. In the meantime, we compliment the board and thank the teachers who give so much — even after school — to our kids.