Credit For Kids Helps Schools Stretch Services

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Students, teachers and parents representing Payson and Pine School districts are united in their efforts to ensure all taxpayers have the opportunity to participate in Credit for Kids.

Last week, volunteers folded, stamped and mailed informational letters to taxpayers urging them to contribute to the program, which has become an important part of both districts.

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Students from Julia Randall Elementary are among the volunteers who have addressed, stamped and helped mail Credit for Kids reminders to taxpayers in the Payson and Pine school districts.

The letters were printed with support from Coldwell Banker Bishop Realty, Stockman's Bank and Pioneer Title.

Payson Elementary School Principal Roy Sandoval, and other school administrators, appreciate the extra financial support provided by Credit for Kids.

"Without the support of our community through Credit for Kids, we just plain could not offer after school enrichment and many academic interventions," he said. "These funds are crucial if we want to give students a well rounded education."

The program earned $47,760 at Pine Elementary School last year. Athletes of all ages and abilities will be able to use the extra money to their advantage when the district's new combination athletic field opens.

In Payson, where more than $190,000 was donated last year, the Stadium Improvement Project has been the chief benefactor of tax money. Recently, new bleachers were installed on the north side of the football field and a announcers box was later added. Plans to install a sound system are next.

Around the district, other schools -- where funds have been set aside to support fine arts, technology and for educational field trips -- are reaping the benefits of Credit for Kids. The Payson Center for Success uses the money for career exploration, cultural awareness projects and the development of the yearbook. At Rim Country Middle School, money has been used by the musical theater, Outdoor Adventure Club and for a Science Olympiad.

Frontier Elementary has purchased new musical instruments while funding the Wolf Impressions after school program.

At Payson Elementary School, Sandoval funds field trips, academic enrichment programs and the orchestra.

Field trips, special assemblies, band, orchestra and after-school enrichment programs are just a few of the activities Julia Randall School officials enriched with the tax money. Payson High School administrators bought new sports equipment, and funded transportation for the athletic program, club activities and fine arts programs.

The Credit for Kids program was passed into law in 1997 by the Arizona State Legislature. It allows households to deduct, as a tax credit, fees paid to schools for extracurricular activities.

Because the donations are a dollar-for-dollar credit, there is no cost to the taxpayer.

Individual taxpayers may contribute up to $200; joint taxpayers up to $250.

The full amount does not have to be donated -- school officials have long said any amount is welcome.

Anyone can contribute to the fund. To find out more about the program, call (928) 474-2070 or (928) 476-3283.

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