Last year, the Payson community contributed $142,212 to the Credit for Kids tax program. That was a tidy sum that represented a generous outpouring of support from a town the size of ours.
Throughout the state, there were districts with much larger student counts whose donations didn't match what Payson contributed. The much-needed tax money is used to fund projects and extracurricular activities at every school in the Payson Unified District.
Sadly, this year donations to the tax program have fallen off.
The bright side of that scenario is that local taxpayers have one more week to make their contributions.
State law allows a $200 tax credit for individual tax players and a $250 tax credit for married persons filing jointly.
Local school officials are quick to point out that the donation is a credit against any tax liability not a deduction from income. In other words, this contribution costs the taxpayer nothing and the money remains in Payson.
If a local taxpayer doesn't make the donation, his/her money goes to the Arizona Department of Revenue in Phoenix.
In establishing Credit for Kids in 1997, the legislature mandated that school districts can accept unlimited funds, but all of it must be used for extracurricular activities.
Some of the projects that have been funded with Credit for Kids tax dollars include the improvement of the Payson High School stadium/track, a strings/music program at Payson Elementary, Math Club at PHS, Young Authors Day at Julia Randall, after school music program at Frontier Elementary, outdoor adventures club at RCMS and career exploration trip at Payson Center for Success.
Without the Credit for Kids tax donations, none of those programs would have been possible.
In Pine/Strawberry, school officials also depend on the tax donations to fund extracurricular activities like fine arts, career explorations, intramural programs and school improvement projects.
Donations to Credit for Kids can be dropped off, before Dec. 31, at the Payson District offices, located at 514 W. Wade, or at the Pine/Strawberry School.
Those who donate can select which school or project they would like the funds allocated to.
Call Roy Sandoval at 474-5882 or 474-2407 for more information.
Last summer, about 50 local youngsters participated in a week-long Arizona Diamondbacks baseball camp held at Payson High.
It's been about five months since that camp was conducted. Since then, the Little League season has also wrapped up.
To be better prepared for the spring baseball season, youngsters and their