Editor:

I have some reservations about the school override. The amount we paid for the 2017 override was $86.89 and 2018 it was $92.87. This tax year (2019) without the override we paid $137.40 more in property taxes. The calculations for taxpayers property tax increase seems to be a little cloudy as most homes in Payson would be double or triple the amount described as Payson’s home values are high.

It has been described as the M & O Budget Override first passed in 2010. Is this for Maintenance and Operations? What does this consist of? Why has there not been a pie chart presented to easily show where the money will go? Some have said “many children’s favorite part of school is the music, physical education or technology programs.” The paper said “the override money supports both the district’s music program and sports program.” Is this part of the M & O budget? There needs to be more clarity when requesting a property tax hike.

Another issue I have is the constant bringing up “class sizes.” I am enclosing a photo of the fourth-grade class of 1954 in Globe, which has 44 students and one teacher. Two others are of my husband’s classes of 37 and 39 students. My fifth-grade class was combined with the sixth-graders in one classroom and one teacher with well over 45 students. This issue has many modern day problems to overcome, i.e., parent involvement, lack of discipline, lack of respect for those in authority among others.

About 10 years ago the PUSD approved a federal grant to build a ropes course in front of the high school. It cost around $420,000 and it was finally dismantled because the school system was going to have to pay tens of thousands of dollars in liability insurance. Was this a wise use of taxpayer dollars? Was there no concept about the high cost of liability insurance or where that money could be better used at the outset?

I know of numerous successful students of PUSD and appreciate a well-educated populous, but I won’t vote for the override because I think this wasn’t presented in a very straight forward, factual manner.

Jeanie Langham

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(1) comment

Phil Mason

Exactly. District schools are rife with waste and fraud. The biggest proof of that is contained in the Auditor General's Dollars to the Classroom Report.

The national AVERAGE for the percentage of expenditures that are directed to the classroom - teacher salaries and benefits - is nearly 65%. Remember, that is the AVERAGE, not a select group that is overachieving.

PUSD actually was at nearly 62% a decade ago, but is now at less than 50%. That comes out to about $3 million dollars a year diverted away from the classroom - teacher salaries and benefits.in PUSD while they issue press releases bemoaning the problem of retaining quality teachers due to low pay.

It is all a farce that is similar to situations in other fields where owners and administrators are sent to prison.

Now that the Override has passed, it is time for property owners to hold the district accountable for the revenues they are supposed to manage.

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