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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions April 16, 2014


10/31/2012 9:57:00 PM
Letter: Education deserves Prop. 204 benefit

EDITOR:

I am writing in response to an article from Tuesday, Oct. 16, "What is on the Ballot?" I believe information in this article provides one with half of the information when you refer to Proposition 204. Yes, the sales tax rate for Arizona would continue at 6.6 percent but still lower than other states, such as California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Minnesota and Nevada; however, we need to put that into context with all of the taxes that we pay to the state.

Arizona is one of the lowest for property taxes and combined with state income taxes, I challenge you to see where Arizona falls when you combine all of the state taxes we pay, when compared to all of the states. I think you will find we are in the lowest portion of total taxes paid.

Did we mention in that article that Arizona is 49th in education; that our teachers are significantly under paid in Prescott; that the common core curriculum adopted by the state is not appropriately being funded; that our math textbooks are 11 years old; and that Arizona is the leader in educational cuts for the nation?

Before someone decides whether or not to vote for Prop. 204, I would like them to be educated and have complete and accurate information. Isn't education worth it?

Cheryl Fernandez

Prescott





Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, November 04, 2012
Article comment by: John Montgomery

Face it folks, we spend more to house a prisoner than in education a child in Arizona. That's pretty clear to me why this is upside down. Let's educate properly, in all aspects, to avoid imprisionment! Hello, wake up and smell the roses. Also, we cannot limit women's rights to abortion - that will only perpetuate the problems - Don't force women to have unwanted babies! It does nothing positive for the baby or for society!

Posted: Sunday, November 04, 2012
Article comment by: 55+ year Az Resident

VOTE NO on 204......I am sure that Ms Fernandez has not read the 15 + page prop, so she is the one not doing her homework . It is not as simple as teachers and staff getting raises. If it is, why didn't they get them years ago when the prop was past before. This is a sales tax on food and essentials. She might be able to afford more taxes and some of the bloggers out there, but most people can't at this point. Also I know for a fact this family has moved here in recently years, as have so many others and if ARIZONA is so awful when it comes to education and quality of life in Arizona, why would you come to a state that is 49th in education. Sounds like these people didn't do their homework again!!! A side note all of my children went to public AZ schools and all of graduated from college and excelled and now are gainfully employed. PS There are also lots of teachers in our family that know they will never see this money in a from of a raise.

Posted: Sunday, November 04, 2012
Article comment by: William Brasse

A. The majority of the people who claim increasing education funding doesn't = improvement are coming to the conversation without addressing the actual issue. How much is needed in the first place? The fallacy on which their argument is based is that current funding is meeting the need. Ergo, increasing funding is wasteful and won't make a difference. The really interesting thing is that I bet the majority of those holding the "throwing money at education doesn't work" view have little to no clue how much money is being provided and how it is actually spent in their districts.

#2. The tax is only as permanent as voters allow it to be. If in X number of years voters believe it needs to be decreased/increased/ended completely another voter initiative proposition can make that happen.


Posted: Saturday, November 03, 2012
Article comment by: Worth Reposting

Well said and worth reposting...This is technically correct but mostly when you look at very broad data. You need to capture local districts and how they've improved or not based on increased funding (adjusted for inflation).

Much like any other enterprise that relies on money to operate - it's not just the money, it's how the money is spent that matters. This doesn't mean the money isn't needed. Local districts can't buy new textbooks. Teachers haven't had a raise in 5 years. Teachers are leaving in droves for greener pastures (higher salaries). There will be more layoffs and class sizes will go up.

Of course at some point more money won't have much effect - there is a saturation point to be sure. We are nowhere near that point. Your local districts are underfunded. You have the power to change that if you wish. But your Republican overlords (who were for the first 1c increase) don't find it politically expedient to have taxpayers tie their hands and tell them how to spend OUR money.

Instead they actively oppose such a measure despite the State's continuing budget crisis. As stated before - this opposition isn't out of any benevolent concern for your tax burden. I can assure you of that.


Posted: Saturday, November 03, 2012
Article comment by: Hokas Pokas

The top spender, New York state, spends $18,126 per student and has a graduation rate of 72%. The state that spends the least, Utah, spends $6,356 per student and has a graduation rate of 72%. You can prattle on with all the gibberish about demographics, etc., but it makes no difference. All states have their individual problems. Two things: the federal government should get out of the education business and dumping more money into education is like putting it in a black hole.

The U.S. spends more money per capita on education than virtually all developed nations. Our comparative test scores are mediocre. Since 1970 the federal government has tripled the amount of money, adjusted for inflation, going into education and test scores remain flat.

Try this arithmetic: $$$$ + $$$$ does not equal better schools.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/10/education-spending-fact-of-the-day_n_1870442.html


Posted: Saturday, November 03, 2012
Article comment by: Veritas Semper has a point

This is technically correct but mostly when you look at very broad data. You need to capture local districts and how they've improved or not based on increased funding (adjusted for inflation).

Much like any other enterprise that relies on money to operate - it's not just the money, it's how the money is spent that matters. This doesn't mean the money isn't needed. Local districts can't buy new textbooks. Teachers haven't had a raise in 5 years. Teachers are leaving in droves for greener pastures (higher salaries). There will be more layoffs and class sizes will go up.

Of course at some point more money won't have much effect - there is a saturation point to be sure. We are nowhere near that point. Your local districts are underfunded. You have the power to change that if you wish. But your Republican overlords (who were for the first 1c increase) don't find it politically expedient to have taxpayers tie their hands and tell them how to spend OUR money.

Instead they actively oppose such a measure despite the State's continuing budget crisis. As stated before - this opposition isn't out of any benevolent concern for your tax burden. I can assure you of that.


Posted: Friday, November 02, 2012
Article comment by: M D

I stand with Hooty Hoo on this one. Each and every point he made in response to this letter is spot on. Additionally, the very fact that there is a large amount of anonymous out of state money being spent to defeat it suggests that it really isn't about what is good for the citizens of this state. As far as the scary word permanent is concerned : This is not a constitutional ammendment, it is a voter initiative and can be overturned with another voter initiative. It would not have been necessary if our elected officials valued education as much as they valued private for profit prisons. The public schools need to employ lobbyists and make large campaign donations if they want to be on equal footing with them

When is the last time captains of industry asked how good are the prisons in your state before deciding to relocate?


Posted: Friday, November 02, 2012
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo is exactly right

Any professionals looking to relocate ask the same things. As do companies looking to move into an area.



Posted: Friday, November 02, 2012
Article comment by: Veritas Semper

In case anyone wants to spend the time researching it. There is almost no correlation between the money given to school districts and the succes of it's students academically. For those too lazy, here's a study done by our neighbor to the left : http://schoolspending.apps.cironline.org/

Statistics, facts, reality....hard concepts to swallow sometimes.


Posted: Friday, November 02, 2012
Article comment by: poo poo

Anyone that votes to make permanent a "temporary" sales tax is a moron.

Posted: Friday, November 02, 2012
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

I've got a step-relative who's a physician recruiter. She says the physicians always ask about the same 4 things: the pay, the workplace/clinic/hospital facilities, the town's cultural/sports/recreational opportunities, AND THE SCHOOLS. And in Prescott we only have public/charter schools (and Orme and Sacred Heart). Schools are one of a small area's biggest assets, or biggest drawbacks.

Posted: Friday, November 02, 2012
Article comment by: Dead On the Money

Thank you....this is dead on the money...But it's interesting that the legislators are very openly against 204. Do you think that is because they are really looking out for the little guy? NO. It's because 204 is a VOTER driven proposition that attempts to right a wrong by PREVENTING the legislators from raiding the education funds.

Seems real "fair" that legislators can speak out against it but schools cannot talk for it.


Posted: Friday, November 02, 2012
Article comment by: C'mon Hooty Hoo

Everybody knows teaching is a cush job. Why 30 grand a year for sitting around doing a half a year's work is the best deal going.

That's why most new teachers don't last more than 3 years, right? Cause it's so easy and so lucrative?

In addition to the stupid misconceptions about the rigors of teaching most people also fail to grasp that if you offer more money that equals more competition for the job. More competition equals the ability to attract better employees.

But teachers are dumb and have it easy and my kids already went through school anyway so it's not my problem anymore. Besides - we don't need any more money we just need parents to do their job. If every parent did their job we wouldn't even need schools!


Posted: Friday, November 02, 2012
Article comment by: How to approach propositions

Remember there is always a special interest behind any proposition. The fat cats who have the legislatures in their pockets drive most legislation. With that in mind a good rule of thumb is to vote NO on most propositions.

But it's interesting that the legislators are very openly against 204. Do you think that is because they are really looking out for the little guy? NO. It's because 204 is a VOTER driven proposition that attempts to right a wrong by PREVENTING the legislators from raiding the education funds.

While I'm not typically in favor of increased taxes - I'm not some ignoramus who thinks public infrastructure and services just magically appear. And when I can tell the government I want more money spent here (education) and less there (your own pet projects), I need to at least consider the merits of voting YES.


Posted: Friday, November 02, 2012
Article comment by: A response to Peter Smith

I understand your points about New York v Arizona, but it's apples (no pun intended) to oranges. I guarantee New York state has many public school districts that far outpace those in Arizona as well as those that fall far below those in Arizona. All of that proves nothing about whether 204 should be passed.

I wonder at those who honestly believe that public schools in Arizona are already receiving too much or even "enough" money. While it's true that money poorly spent is worthless, there is little to no evidence in our area that money is being poorly spent. The neat thing about school budgets and school budget meetings are that they are open to the public for their scrutiny and input (through the school board meetings). Yet you typically see the same tired generalizations about education spending that are not grounded in reality.

I understand the trepidation of voting for a permanent tax increase. I understand the cynicism about what the legislature will do with the budget to compensate. What I don't understand is the "rationale" that the money will simply be wasted with no oversight and with no benefit to children. If true - that is entirely the fault of your local school board - an entity in which you have much power over. I'm hard pressed to think of any other tax dollars that your very own neighborhood has so much control over on how they are spent.

Re: the parents not teachers conundrum. Of course this is true. But we can't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Because parents don't feel the need to do their job, the schools have taken on more and more responsibility. This even includes making sure they are properly fed at lunch. While it's easy to simply scoff that we should quit doing the job of the parent - that does nothing to help assure Arizona will graduate a bright, motivated, and educated workforce. The way it stands now - we have a long way to go on this front. We will never attract and retain the type of companies we need until we show we are serious about education. But that's an aside.

To the point about parental responsibility: it's not the child's fault they were born into a bad situation with uninvolved parents. Personal responsibility IS important. But until you are willing to impose more government interfering in things like how parents parent - we can either simply let those children wither and die on the vine or use our resources as a collective to help them every bit we can - even as we despise the fact their lousy parents are making us do so.


Posted: Friday, November 02, 2012
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

@ John Smith: Sounds like you are on top of things, great. I too did a lot of that with my kids, who are all done with college. But while I agree that you can't throw money at it, you also can't be last. Why would Arizona be dead last? I know, there are many confusing formulas to compute the amount of money spent on education. But $30k for a staring teacher in Prescott? My neice wouldn't consider that, so she opted for Phoenix. And she is a great hire. The quality of the teacher is the best predictor of educational success, whether that be classroom or at home.

Posted: Friday, November 02, 2012
Article comment by: ARIZONA SCHOOLS

Maybe our schools need more money to pay for an interpreter, since most of the children don't speak our native language. So, let the government deal with it since they support them anyway.

Posted: Friday, November 02, 2012
Article comment by: Peter Smith

To Hooty Hoo's response. I referenced New York since the argument has been consistently made that Arizona is 49th in per pupil spending. If New York is number 1 in spending, then by the argument being presented, they should have the best schools in the country. So the argument does not hold water. Also, New York may have its own problems, but Arizona has one of the largest immigrant populations (including non-English speaking immigrants) which our education system has to address. Arizona seems to be doing well with its own challenges given the graduation rates of other states.

It is also the responsibility of the parents to monitor their children's work in school and help them when they need assistance. My wife and I regularly spend each evening before dinner with our kids to help them and check their homework. That is how children do well in school and graduate. To rely 100% on our teachers is a disservice to our teachers. A teacher is not a replacement for parental oversight. Parents need to do their part also and the excuse that they are too busy is another way of saying "I don't care about my child's future, so let someone else handle it."


Posted: Friday, November 02, 2012
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo Is Outnumbered

@Hooty Hoo-once again you prove your ignorance with your comments. Before criticizing others, read your comments over a few times.

Posted: Friday, November 02, 2012
Article comment by: Vi King

We both voted No on 204. I don't care if we are taxed at a lower rate than other states. I don't want to pay a penny more!
Use what you already get from us.
Enough already.


Posted: Friday, November 02, 2012
Article comment by: @@ pv mom

You do realize that charter schools are funded with your taxpayer dollars? They are public schools. They are not the little private school you think they are - although the marketing certainly appeals to people like you who believe they are getting some super special and exclusive education.

Pee-Vee - the poster child for ignorance. Ima vote against them big taxes acause my kids ain't even going to them skools.

But they are. They are.


Posted: Friday, November 02, 2012
Article comment by: @ Threepence

The minute you called charter schools private (they aren't) I realized you are just the same as all the other people that feel the need to espouse the "facts" here.

It's obvious you don't know what you are talking about.


Posted: Friday, November 02, 2012
Article comment by: LOL Literally

Yep...proof that education is doing just fine and needs no funding (that the state has taken away)...

Grease????

LOL.


Posted: Friday, November 02, 2012
Article comment by: Hey @pv mom

You do know that charter schools get more money per pupil right????

And morals at PV schools??? Give me a break. I love that my son has been busted for things that I do not approve of and I think the high schools has pretty strict rules. I appreciate the job they do over there. No cell phones/ipods, strict dress code, no insubordination and expelling kids that go to far or too often. Kudos to them.


Posted: Friday, November 02, 2012
Article comment by: Simple Ideas

Education IS national security.

About "this going down in flames" - the most vocal do not represent the majority and you have to remember the neo-cons in our area do NOT represent the state.

I agree that we don't have to spend as much as some states - but the amount we spend is a ridiculously small amount. Get real.

I think our districts do a great job with the peanuts they get - imagine what improvement we would see if we did not have 35 kids in a damn classroom and teachers making less than garbage men while working 60-70 hour weeks, and textbooks and technology that is from this century and not the last.

YES ON 204!



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