Time is running out to designate your tax dollars to schools and organizations in desperate need of funding.
Donations to approved entities for the Arizona state tax credit program that gives contributions to schools and certain nonprofit organizations, is due by midnight, Thursday, Dec 31.
This is the 12th year for the program that gives single taxpayers a chance to decide where up to $200 of their tax money goes to use. For married, joint-filers, the maximum credit is $400.
Schools use the money to fund various activities including clubs, sports, music and drama groups, and after-school programs.
Last year, the Payson Unified School District took in $262,000 through the program. Since the program started, it has brought in more than $2.25 million for the district.
The Credit for Kids program works simply, says Susan Campbell, a receptionist for the district.
Payson taxpayers can make a contribution to the school of their choice including those in Payson, Pine, Tonto Basin and Young school districts. You can also contribute to the Payson Christian Clinic, Rim Country Arizonans for Children Inc., the Time Out Shelter or Payson Area Habitat for Humanity.
“When they file their taxes, their contribution becomes a credit against their state tax liability — not a deduction, but a dollar-for-dollar tax credit,” Campbell said.
Taxpayers essentially pay nothing since they would pay the taxes anyway.
“Now more than ever, Credit for Kids is crucial to maintaining quality programs and experiences for students throughout Payson schools,” said Superintendent Casey O’Brien.
At Payson High School, more than 50 clubs, sports and activities use Credit for Kids contributions. The golf program, for example uses funds to pay for shirts, hotels and golf balls, said golf coach Denny Morse.
At Payson Center for Success, money is used for field trips that expose students to different careers and historic or recreational places around Arizona.
At Rim Country Middle School, Credit for Kids supports an array of programs including art, band, choir and strings, gifted and talented, outdoor adventure club, future business and family leaders, builders club, student council, field trips and new library books.
Seventh-grader Ryland Wala said of a field trip to ASU’s Grady Gammage Auditorium, “When we went to ‘Phantom of the Opera’, we had already learned about the protagonist and antagonist. I heard it in class, but it just clicked after seeing the Phantom.”
Credit for Kids also supports Reward Rallies, which encourage students to be on their best behavior.
RCMS recently, thanks to Credit for Kids, invited the Arizona Diamondbacks, welcomed the ASU Sparky Tour and held a Pro BMX stunt show.
At Payson Elementary School, students are learning math through programs purchased with Credit for Kids funds.
Call the district office at (928) 474-2070 if you have questions about Credit for Kids. Deposit contributions in the APS drop box at Payson Town Hall, at the APS Office, 400 W. Longhorn Road, at any PUSD school, the district office or mail them to P.O. Box 919, Payson, AZ 85547.