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Payson Unified School District Office

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School agendas now online

The Payson Unified School District (PUSD) has gone electronic with its school board agenda.

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Teachers all get As

Almost every teacher qualifies for $2,000 performance pay bonus

Virtually all the teachers in the Payson Unified School District (PUSD) are doing well enough to receive a roughly $2,000, state-funded performance pay bonus.

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School staff in turmoil

The Payson Unified School District has effectively let go of 18 non-teaching employees, part of a far-reaching overhaul of staffing.

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Schools get infusion of federal funds

The area school district board members and administrators might be breathing 90 percent of a sigh of relief since the April 16 meeting of the Gila County Board of Supervisors.

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Board grapples with priorities

Proposed budget system uses funds in areas to boost student achievement

An intent Payson School Board struggled most of Saturday to understand the far-reaching implications of Superintendent Ron Hitchcock’s priority-based approach to the district’s budget.

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Teachers face changes

Payson schools plan shift to evaluation system that relies on student test scores, despite mixed results elsewhere

This month, Payson Unified School District (PUSD) will reveal its new and improved teacher evaluation system.

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School board OKs ‘achievement’ administrator

Budget woes complicate effort to hire person to boost student test scores

The financially-pressed Payson School Board on Monday voted to add a director of student achievement to the staff, with a potential salary of $88,000.

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Terrible turnover

School sees 21% of its pupils come and go

Last year Julia Randall Elementary (JRE) teachers struggled to cope with a student turnover rate of 21 percent as students came and went. This year looks like more of the same.

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Student tests test teachers

Payson schools shifting teacher grading system

The Payson School Board has taken a key first step toward linking teacher job security to student test scores as it scrambles to adapt to new state and federal standards.

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Prop. 118: A welcome pittance for schools

$8.4 million boost, will bring in just $9 for each student

Arizona State Treasurer Doug Ducey last week issued a press release saying Proposition 118 will generate $8.4 million for the state’s schools.

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Some school aides will get raise

Board hopes boost to $10 an hour will stop alarming turnover

To end the constant turnover of aides in the Payson Unified School District, the school board Monday approved a creative solution.

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School board to hear report on overhaul of curriculum

Common Core standards designed to stress critical thinking and set national benchmark for students

Payson High School Principal Anna Van Zile will on Monday discuss what the Common Core Standards mean to Payson Unified School District, said Superintendent Ron Hitchcock.

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Big school grant requires input from district voters

Payson schools could land up to $10 million — if citizens speak up

The school board on Oct. 9 directed the Payson Unified School District staff to apply for a federal grant that could bring in up to $10 million — but only if residents help out.

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Record number seek Payson School Board seats

Nine candidates vie for five seats amidst a swirl of issues and financial woes

Something’s up with the Payson Unified School District (PUSD) — what else can explain nine candidates running for school board?

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School board reviews facilities fees

The Payson School Board Monday night reviewed the fees the district charges for community use of school facilities such as the high school auditorium, cafeterias, gyms and fields often rented by local groups.

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School board struggles to adapt to mandates

The Payson School Board at its Sept. 10 meeting will continue its struggle to reconcile its goals with an avalanche of changes imposed by the state and federal government — usually without any money to fund the sweeping changes.

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School board draws up its wish list

Cost aside, board dreams of all-day kindergarten, no sports fees, bonuses and pay raises for teachers

Payson School Board members took a deep breath last week and revealed their heart’s desires — regardless of the price tag.

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Race is on for Rim Country school boards

Nine candidates jostling for three seats on the board

Nine Rim Country School board candidates have collected all necessary signatures, had their nomination papers notarized and turned everything into the Gila County Superintendent’s office.

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Candidates flock to school meeting

The Payson School Board opened its Monday meeting to the public to solicit comments on board goals, but wound up hosting an impromptu candidate forum.

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Payson Schools’ tax rate set to drop

Homeowners in the Payson Unified School District (PUSD) will pay 3 percent less on their property taxes this year to K-12 schools if the Gila County Board of Supervisors approves the estimates on Aug. 20. The changes would mean that the owner of a $100,000 home in Payson will pay to the PUSD $348.77 — an $11 decrease from this year. The bill will go down more if the assessed value of the home drops.

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Schools cut budget 5 percent

Teacher costs take big drop, grant may help cushion blow

The Payson Unified School District’s (PUSD) budget for the 2012-13 school year will drop 4.16 percent, reflecting layoffs and a drop in enrollment. The school board adopted a $14.6 million operations and maintenance (M & O) budget for 2012-13 at its meeting on Monday, July 9.

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Windfall enriches schools

Last-minute federal money eases tight Payson budget

In a welcome budget surprise, the federal government this week gave the Payson Unified School District an extra $368,000. “This came as a complete surprise,” said Payson Unified School District Business Manager Kathie Manning.

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Three seats open for Payson School Board

Three of the five available Payson School Board seats are up for grabs in the November election. Tonto Basin School District has one position out of three and the Pine/Strawberry School District has three out of five positions up for election. Payson Unified School Board (PUSD) president Barbara Underwood, along with members Matt Van Camp and Kim Pound, currently hold the three seats up for election. Underwood says she has picked up an election packet and plans on running. Van Camp says he won’t run again.

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Initiative signatures rejected on technicality

Another challenging year ahead for schools

Relying on a technicality, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett rejected almost 300,000 signatures gathered by the Quality Education and Jobs Initiative on June 25, the campaign reported in a press release. Despite the huge number of signatures gathered, Bennett’s decision to reject the gathered signatures will likely keep off the ballot the initiative to add one cent to the sales tax to generate more than a billion a year for schools and highways.

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Payson schools to start sex education program

Board approves state-funded program for ninth-graders

Attempting to counter one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the state, the Payson School Board Monday approved an eight-week sex education program for freshmen to start in the fall. Gila County Teen Pregnancy Coordinator Nancy Rutherford will conduct the twice-a-week sessions, which will substitute for physical education classes. Rutherford told the board the program would stress that abstaining from sex remains the only sure-proof way to avoid pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, but will also make sure students know about birth control options. “Abstinence is what’s promoted as safest” but the 16 sessions will offer a comprehensive approach, said Rutherford.

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Extracurricular activities yield benefits

Payson schools have forced most extracurricular programs to charge fees and seek donations to cover their own costs. However, a growing body of research demonstrates that such programs often yield far greater academic gains than many traditional classroom activities.

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Schools out $210,000

State: middle school class isn’t really a class

The Payson school district has agreed to return $210,000 to the Arizona Department of Education for a program that district officials say helped students but that state officials didn’t count as a class. Auditors from the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) decided Payson schools state money spent on an innovative class that helped children who fell behind in school didn’t qualify as a class under state rules. “This began a little over a year ago when auditors from the ADE came to look at attendance issues,” said Superintendent Casey O’Brien.

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