Community needs to support public schools


I am writing to urge support for the Payson Unified School District’s override re-authorization.

I have a particular interest in this, not just because I have lived in Payson for 40-plus years, but also because I served as mayor of the Town of Payson for more than six years. The school district passed an override in 2010 and I saw the benefit to the schools with the additional funding. It is clear to me that it is time for us, as a community, to again step forward to continue supporting our public schools.

My experiences allowed me to see how changes in our society are placing increasing demands on our public schools. I am sure I don’t have to elaborate to you on the challenges of quickly evolving technology, the importance of quality music programs, and the health impact of physical education programs for our students.

In addition, here in Payson, many of our students have received scholarship opportunities as a direct result of partaking in advanced placement classes and/or dual-enrollment classes with Gila Community College.

We have been fortunate that our students have done so well as they move to higher education and/or careers. If we want this to continue, we need to make sure that we continue to fund the programs that help students reach their goals.

Finally, I am also writing as a retired citizen, living on my pension and savings. Many other senior citizens I have talked to about this feel as I do, that we have an obligation to contribute to the future by being willing to re-authorize the secondary tax we are currently paying so that our young people are assured of getting the education they need.

Craig Swartwood, Payson

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(2) comments

Phil Mason

Spastic finger - - Edit: "incontrovertible fact THEY have redirected 205" should have been "incontrovertible fact THEY have redirected 20%"

Phil Mason

There is an incestuous relationship within the families who have been elected and appointed Town of Payson and Payson Unified School District entities. The former mayor acts as a flack for the school district placing liens on the homes and businesses of Payson residents.

He parrots the false narrative that "our students have done so well" when the fact is that nearly 70% of our current high school students FAILED the watered down AZMerit test.

The Legislature recently INCREASED funding to PUHS in spite of a 10% decrease in students and local property revenues to the district have INCREASED by 30% this decade.

The worst fact about the school administration and board seeking to take more money from the homeowners and businesses is the incontrovertible fact THEY have redirected 205 of the funds that directly pay teacher salaries to other "higher priority" areas.

Sorry, Craig, PUSD has not handled the current extreme level of property taxes as fiduciaries of the taxpayers. PUSD should allocate the $24,000,000.00 it now receives to the classroom so at least one-half of the students can pass a low level check on their academic progress. Our children deserve higher focus on instruction activities and our families deserve the security of their homes without constant tax increases.

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