PUSD tax credit donations ‘on target’ with previous years

Donation receipts came in at $1.622 million for PUSD in 2016. (Independent Newsmedia/Jacob Stanek)

Donation receipts are in for 2016, and Peoria Unified School District officials say they are on-par with previous years’ donations.

Spokeswoman Danielle Airey said the district received $1.622 million tax credit donations in 2016. More than $20,000 was donated on New Year’s Eve.

Arizona taxpayers have the opportunity to receive a tax credit, regardless if they have children in school or not. Anyone who resides or owns property and can file taxes in the state can make a tax credit contribution. Taxpayers can receive a tax credit up to $200 for single or head of household tax filers and up to $400 for married couple filing a joint return when contributing to extracurricular activities in public schools.

Ms. Airey said the district makes it a point to share this information with parents and the community in a wide variety of ways. She said information is included in the annual review, and parents can make a tax credit donation when paying for certain fees, such as field trips. Also, at the end of the year, email communications are sent out, and reminders are posted on social media.

“Tax credit donations play a very important role to Peoria Unified. They help fund extracurricular activities and allow more opportunities to help enrich our school experience,” she said. “This year, we did very well, and were right on target with previous years.”

The district raised about $1.636 million donations in 2015 and $1.577 million  in 2014.

A tax credit contribution may be used for a specific student’s extracurricular activities, as long as the program is defined by the Arizona tax law as an extracurricular activity. Or a donation can go to the district’s greatest need.

Ms. Airey said field trips garnished the highest amount in tax credit donations, and greatest need was the second highest category this year.

Previously, some donations were made to fund all-day kindergarten because the district required a fee for the service, a result of the cut in state budget to fund free all-day kindergarten. However, in 2016, the district once again offered free full-day kindergarten due to the passage of the 2015 override.

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