Sunday, December 9, 2007

Tax-credit gifts give boost to Peoria schools



Charles Kelly
The Arizona Republic

Your tax-credit donation can aid students in the Peoria Unified School District in many ways.

Rae Conelley, principal at Alta Loma Elementary School, can list a variety of them.

"We have used tax-credit money for so many opportunities that we might never have had," Conelley said. "The money that our patrons donate to us through the Arizona Tax Credit system has been used for programs that keep our children participating and interested in school."

Seventh-graders and their after-school mentors are using a program called Jump Start for Math, the physical-education department has a new softball- pitching machine and the after-school tutoring program has new books and supplies, all purchased with tax-credit funds. If a child can't afford to attend a class field trip, tax-credit money can be used to help him or her take part.

Students at Alta Loma also have been exposed to various arts opportunities through tax-credit-funded programs. They were able to bring in artist-in-residence Sara Yeager to help the after-school Drama Club present Danny, King of the Basement and to invite musician Dr. Jesse Maguire to perform the national anthem for the Alta Loma Patriotic Presentation last year.

"This year, we are hoping to purchase materials for the Peaceful Playground so that students can stay active wheen they are outside and have something safe to do," Conelley said.

Arizona tax law allows an individual taxpayer a tax credit of up to $200 or a married couple filing a joint return a credit of up to $400. The donor is able to get the exact amount back from the state when filing a return.

All the donated funds go directly to the school and program selected by the contributor. Or a contributor can decide to direct the donation to schools with the greatest need.