Taxpayers looking to direct their year-end giving can make a difference with a dollar-for-dollar tax contribution to a Phoenix public school in need. Arizona law allows taxpayer donations to help fund after school programs and extracurricular activities—like band, sports, speech and debate, and field trips— but schools are not benefiting equally from these donations.
Although tax credit contributions increased by 9 percent in 2016, the inequity still exists. In fact, last year, one Phoenix school district received as little as $3 per student, while another received $135 per student.
“Until public schools receive the funding they need, Phoenix residents can help address inequity in our schools by making informed tax credit donations,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “When we invest in our students and their futures, we also invest in the future economic success of our great city.”
Data from the Arizona Department of Revenue, Office of Economic Research & Analysis shows that three out of 29 school districts in Phoenix received half of all contributions. It also shows that 20 percent of school districts received fewer donations than the previous year. After school programs and extracurricular activities may not be fully funded by school districts because of limited funding.
With the help of donations received from the School Tax Credit Program, schools like Kenilworth School in the Phoenix Elementary School District #1, can send their students on field trips for free—at no cost to their families or any impact to the school’s funds.
“In the absence of the Tax Credit donations, these opportunities would be very complicated to produce and would cost the families money out of pocket,” said Kenilworth School Principal Anthony Pietrangeli. “The tax credit donations have allowed us to maximize the number of students that participate because the financial burden is not on the families.”
Arizona tax law (ARS 43-1089.01) allows taxpayers a tax credit of up to $200, or $400 per married couple, if they contribute to extracurricular activities in public schools. Arizona taxpayers may donate less than $200 and still be eligible to receive the state tax credit in the amount of their donation. The amount taxpayers donate will be the amount they may claim as a state tax credit.
Without funds from tax credit contributions, students are missing out on a well-rounded, enriching educational experience.
View the user-friendly, interactive maps to make an informed donation: https://www.phoenix.gov/schooltaxcredit. Taxpayers can donate any time until April 15, 2018, to receive a 2017 tax credit.