by David Safier
This is your first reminder. You can give a fully refundable tax credit donation to a public school of your choice (or spread it out among a number of schools) by December 31: $200 for an individual, $400 for a couple. If you owe at least as much in state taxes as you give, you'll get 100% of it deducted from what you owe, meaning it won't cost you a penny. And you can pay by credit card.
The money can go to any district school or charter school you wish. By law, it has to go toward extracurricular activities, not the classroom, but that's still important, and in some cases, it can free up school budget money for other uses.
Though I wish it weren't so, many districts let you give your money to pay fees for a student of your choice. I dislike the idea because it's another way children of affluent parents get an advantage, since those parents are more likely to pay state taxes and be able to afford to give money now and get it back later. My recommendation is, if you don't already have a child or school picked out, choose a school with less affluent students, since those schools always get less money donated. TUSD has a list of schools that get the least tax credit dollars per student.
The Pima County districts with the most low income students are TUSD, Sunnyside and Flowing Wells. Here are their tax credit web pages.