Santa Clause is long gone, and that means the Tax Man is right around the corner.
Time is running out for taxpayers to take advantage of the state's dollar-for-dollar education tax credit, and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton is urging residents to funnel extra money to local schools.
"We all have a stake in the success of our students," Stanton said in a recent e-mail blast. "If you have school-aged kids, give to their school. And if you don't, I encourage you lend a hand to a school in need."
Stanton said he's worked with local schools and superintendents to create an interactive map "that can help Phoenix residents make smart donations." The map highlights how much money via tax credit donations, on average, Phoenix high school and elementary districts get per student.
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Individuals can donate up to $200 to a school, and they'll get it back with their tax return in a few months. Get more details about tax credits for public schools from the Arizona Department of Revenue.
Stanton said that donations are needed to cover "the kind of after-school activities that are essential to a quality education, but too often are cut from cash-strapped school district budgets."
Phoenix schools received $15 million through the education tax credit last year, but the schools that struggle to provide after-school programming collected the fewest donations. This has become a trend we can no longer accept - some school districts receive contributions of more than $100 per student, but too many take in an average of only $10, $5 or even $2 per student.
We have a responsibility to make sure every Phoenix student has an opportunity to thrive - in the classroom and after school. Extracurricular music, science and theater activities can create a more robust education for all of our kids, and they lead to a brighter future for our city.