Editor:

Mr. Aleshire, on May 21 you wrote an article with the headline as follows: “Payson schools budget just staying afloat.”

During that time, false messaging was distributed that PUSD was underfunded to the point that they could not afford to spend $20,000 to refinish the gym floor or buy new uniforms for the band. The fact is PUSD had $5.6 million more in tax revenues than expenditures last year and a total of $9,113,089 in the bank beginning this school year. These numbers are published in the Superintendent’s Annual Financial Report (SAFR) https://www.azed.gov/finance/reports/ for FT2020.

On June 15, you wrote a follow-up article entitled: “School board makes plans to spend $4.3 million windfall”

It is important to note that PUSD admin and/or board KNEW for months they were going to receive a huge windfall, although they did not know the exact amount. The public is entitled to a full, complete and unbiased article about the financial and education outcomes for the families and taxpayers that are being crushed under the weight of the district’s abject failures.

Note: Property taxes account for 60% of the total revenues to PUSD — more than double the legislative appropriations.

As a starter, PUSD should refund the $20,000 to Keith Family Flooring as that startup small business needs the money much more than PUSD.

Second, PUSD should reduce the current tax rate that they increased by 70% over the last few years that created the $9,113,089 revenue balance that was in excess of their expenditure needs.

Third, there is NO need to create 15 new certified classroom positions when the school district has 20% fewer students that accounts for 25 empty classrooms of students at current class size.

Finally, Finance Director Manning’s comment “It’s not like we necessarily have to do exactly what we say we’re going to do,” is not comforting based on the financial history of the district.

Phil Mason

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