by David Safier
Let's start this pitch with an offer you shouldn't refuse. You can, and should, give $200 — $400 for a couple — to a public school of your choice (it can be a district or charter school) through the state's tax credit program. Give the money before December 31 and get all of it back when you pay taxes. All of it. Every cent. If you owe at least $200 to $400 in Arizona income tax, the amount you give will be subtracted from what you owe. To put it another way, you'll give much needed money to a public school, and it won't cost you a dime.
Now let's add some detail to the pitch. As the AZ Republic points out, schools in high rent districts get a whole lot of tax credit money while schools serving the children of families living in poverty get far less (Catalina Foothills School District, by the way, tops the state in tax credit revenue). The reason is obvious. Many people in lower income areas don't owe enough in taxes to take advantage of the credit, and even those who barely qualify don't have the extra cash on hand to give away hundreds of dollars now even if they know they'll get it back later.
So your task is to try and even things out a bit. Give your money to a school that traditionally gets fewer dollars per student. How do you know which schools fit the description? Well, TUSD makes it easy. As one of its inviting and informative tax credit web pages, TUSD has a page with a list of the 26 district schools that get the least per student last year.
These schools received an average contribution ranging from $8.65 to $23.37 per student. The average contribution among all TUSD schools is $54.81 per student.
To make things even clearer, the schools at the top of the list received the least.
Though I don't know Sunnyside District school for school, I'm sure its schools can use the extra cash infusion as well.
(Hey, TUSD, Sunnyside's page has the information in English and Spanish. I don't see any Spanish on your pages. Time to fix that, right?)
Giving is easy, by the way. Just go to the website, find the page, and use your credit card or download a form and pay by check. Do it now, before you forget.