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Dozer Download: Prop 204 fallout worse than we thought

I know that Proposition 204 was defeated at the polls by a two-to-one margin.

The big money behind the no on 204 groups and their anti-tax message were heard loud and clear. It's hard to sell a tax in Arizona, even if it's the continuation of one that's already in place, and pays for your kid's public education.

I know I could stand to be in a lower tax bracket, and there's nothing that irks me more than the phrase "contribute," as in, the more successful you are as an American, the more you should "voluntarily give" to the cause, but taxes are not voluntary. That's called philanthropy.

But the forces behind the no on 204 movement succeeded in not only defeating that measure, but apparently half of the individual districts' bond overrides as well. Ours in Scottsdale Unified failed, and the effect will soon be felt. Personally.

Teachers at my son's elementary school have already gotten a letter stating there will be cuts to teaching staff, and barring some surprise money showing up, there will be no art, music or physical education. I don't send my son to school to learn how to play kickball, but I value the fine arts and whatever music instruction he can possibly get during his day.

I have already checked into enrollment at two private schools for the coming year, but I wanted to do it the "public" way. I wanted to use our wonderful public schools for their well-rounded, pragmatic approach. I wanted to believe that we as Arizonans value the school systems in our neighborhoods enough to support them with a sales tax. It's a consumption tax, and yet, apparently, it's too much to ask.

I understand that as citizens we want to know that our public school dollars are being used effectively. I don't want any wasted money in the education arena, but our teachers need money. Our districts need money. The system does need money to train teachers on common core standards, implementing a computerized system for evaluating teachers based on performance and implementing new and emerging technology in our classrooms.

Arizona teachers are not paid what their peers in Chicago's school system are and shouldn't have to pay the price for the public outrage felt after that city's teachers' strike. There is a cost for continuing education. Teacher evaluation based on results will be impossible without a computer program written for the task and without new technology, our public school children will continue to fall further and further behind. They are our employees and employers of the future.

Arizona deserves better. Here's to hoping the no on 204 groups come up with a finance plan for Arizona schoolchildren -- all of them.

About the Author

Karie Dozer is host of Arizona's Noon News.

She has been an on-air personality nearly continually since her college days. She loves radio because it is intelligent, immediate and almost always available.

She is the youngest of nine children from a Midwestern Catholic family where she learned to be heard, fight for a place at the table and find humor in almost everything. She was hired as a news intern while a senior at ASU's Cronkite School, and found that covering human stories like the OJ Simpson white Bronco chase and the 1992-93 Phoenix Suns was too much fun to pass up.

She loved life in the newsroom with all the action and crazy personalities to go with it. She anchored and covered some sports too, until politics dragged her away. She served as press secretary for Arizona's Attorney General Grant Woods for a five-year stint before jumping back to radio on a part-time basis. Three years ago she got back in the biz on a more regular basis as a midday host on what is now KTAR News. She has a passion for the breaking news of the moment, education, local politics, great food, sports and fitness. She has trouble turning down a good argument, a good book or a good glass of wine.

In her spare time she takes care of her boys, (husband Rich, son Jack, and yellow lab Buddy,) and bakes awesome chocolate chip cookies. She enjoys the quality of life the Valley offers her family and the natural beauty of Arizona. Her favorite places are golf courses, her own kitchen, the city of Flagstaff, and wherever her family is.

She considers herself lucky to work with the amazingly talented people of KTAR radio.


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