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Starline able to take advantage of tax credit program

Starline Elementary School is the first to take advantage of the district lifting a three-year moratorium on adding new tax credit clubs and activities with the addition of a K-3 tutoring program geared toward improving reading skills.

Previous concerns from Lake Havasu Unified School District board members worried that by allowing elementary schools to take advantage of tax credits would dilute the pool of available funding.

Starline Principal Corey Triassi said she believes the governing board agreed to the tutoring program because it offered early intervention in reading, which had merit.

“They really knew how much we need this program, especially, because we are a non-Title I school,” Triassi said.

The federal Title I program provides financial assistance to local educational agencies and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet state academic standards.

“To be allowed to use tax credits for an afterschool program is huge for us,” Triassi said.

Board President John Masden said allowing this program to take advantage of tax credits makes “absolute” sense.

“Technically it’s not directly academic, but it is a direct academic program, which also lines up with the core mission of the school district,” Masden said. “What’s neat about this one is it’s direct. It’s going to impact education immediately.”

Since its inception in 1998, the Lake Havasu Unified School District tax credit for extracurricular activities program has helped area residents support local school activities while providing a dollar-for-dollar reduction in state tax liabilities.

The tax credit is not a donation or a deduction on state taxes. The amount contributed – up to $200 for a single person or $400 married filing a joint return – is subtracted dollar-for-dollar directly from state income tax obligations.

The credit benefits more than 80 school district middle and high school clubs, athletic programs, SkillsUSA courses, and half-day funding for kindergarten enrichment, with the district picking up the other half.

However, because of a moratorium on bringing in more tax credit eligible activities, which the board has made exceptions to this year at the high school, other afterschool activities at the district’s elementary schools had been excluded until now.

If there is enough funding generated from tax credits and expressed interest at Starline, Triassi said she would like to expand to reach grades four through six with a focus on afterschool math tutoring.

“For K-3 students we want to make sure by the end of third grade as many kids as possible are successful at reading,” Triassi said. “For the older students, when the standards switch it will become quite rigorous in math, an afterschool tutoring program will help.”

 

by David Louis, Today's News-Herald : May 29, 2018

School Supplies


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