Legislature Allows Schools To Keep Collecting Credit For Kids

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Local schools, which collected more than $166,800 through the state's Credit for Kids tax-diversion program last year, will have the chance to collect money through the program again this year.

Despite speculation from local school officials that state lawmakers would repeal the law this session, the Arizona Legislature let the year-old law stand last week.

Credit for Kids, which went into effect in 1998, allows residents to divert up to $200 of their state tax liabilities from the Department of Revenue to local school districts for extracurricular activities. Credit for Kids donations also can be claimed as charitable contributions on itemized federal tax returns. The deadline to make a donation for this tax year is Dec. 31.

The Payson Unified School District has already received its first donation of the year, Payson School Business Manager Bobette Sylvester said Monday.

For 1998, Payson collected $113,485 for music instruments, bleachers for the Longhorn field and a studio theater for the high school. Pine-Strawberry School earned $53,347 last year for extracurricular activities.

The Pine School Board established a grant program Tuesday for its Credit for Kids program and approved all of the school's clubs and organizations as official grant-eligible school activities.

Coordinators for the school's extracurricular programs have been invited to submit proposals and grant requests to the school board, School Board Member Patty Horton said. The board will evaluate each proposal and provide Credit for Kids money as warranted, she said.

Payson school officials have already bought 15 musical instruments and are shopping around for nine more. The studio theater is expected to be complete and ready for classes by the end of the month. Cost estimates for the bleachers are still pending.

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