You have probably received your copy of the Informational Pamphlet regarding the Payson School District 10% Property Tax Override to be voted on Nov. 4, 2014. In it, you will see two arguments For the override. You will also see no arguments filed Against.
I did, in fact, file an Argument Against, which was not acknowledged. Unfortunately, in my haste, I no longer have the USPO proof that I filed it. I won’t make that mistake again.
Here is my statement, with a few additional items:
Statement Against Payson Unified School District 10% M&O Override
Whenever a spending decision comes before the PUSD school board, it’s for one of two purposes: the money is spent in the Classroom, or the Non-classroom. Classroom spending includes salaries for teachers, aides, substitute teachers; instructional supplies, textbooks, software, paper, films; activities, such as athletics, choir, band, etc. The Classroom should be the District’s Top Priority. First dollars should be spent there.
That isn’t what’s been happening in Payson over the last 10 years (before the recession) . According to the Arizona Auditor General’s report, PUSD has been spending less and less in the Classroom and more and more in the Non-classroom. In FY2003, classroom spending was 61.5%. As of FY2013, classroom spending had dropped to 53.3%.
Excluding federal "grants," PUSD still spends $1 more per meal than peer districts ($3.79 per meal compared to $2.42 in other rural districts). Payson’s transportation costs are extremely high ($1,257 per rider compared to $1,013 in other rural districts). Click HERE for the link to the Arizona Auditor General’s reports.
There is another interesting piece of information about Payson that is provided by the Auditor General: Teachers’ salaries. Did you know that, contrary to what you have been told, the average teacher’s pay in the Payson District is higher than their rural peer districts, and higher than the state average? Annual average salary for Payson is $46,200; Rural peers receive $41,866; the Arizona average is $45,264. Click HERE for the report.
Why does it take a tax override to “maintain” high quality instruction, existing programs, and class sizes? Why does it take a tax override to “hire and retain quality teachers and support staff”?
If the Classroom is their first priority, why are they funding it last?
Please Vote NO to the override. Hold PUSD accountable.
Also, please vote for Darlene Younker for Payson School Board. She has dug into the budget. She has been attending board meetings and asking questions. She will hold the District accountable! Click HERE for the link to her website.
609 S Palomino Dr.
Payson, AZ 85541