Lake Havasu Unified School District OKs expansion of tax credit clubs
After lifting the moratorium on new tax credit eligible clubs and activities earlier this year, Lake Havasu Unified School District has given the green light to add three elementary school homework clubs to the list.
When the school year begins in August students at Jamaica, Oro Grande and Havasupi elementary schools will have the chance to take advantage of homework clubs funded through tax credits, and not from donations, funding from the K-12 Foundation, gifts and school site accounts.
Prior to the change, tax credit eligible programs at the elementary school level could only be use for full-day kindergarten.
Claude Sanders, Havasupai Elementary School principal, had been an advocate of lifting the moratorium almost immediately after it went into effect on Jan. 20, 2015.
“Our board is extremely supportive of our elementary schools along with the administration,” Sanders said. “It’s nice they are giving us a little bit of leeway to make sure we are providing the best we can give to our students.”
Sanders’ homework club serves more than 140 students, three days a week, for one hour each day during the school year. “We want our parents to be engaged and talk to their kids about what they are doing, but our homework club also gives them an opportunity to have more family time,” Sanders added.
Since 1998, the extracurricular activities tax credit program has helped Havasu 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 directly from state income tax obligations.
The credit benefits more than 80 of the school district’s middle and high school clubs, athletic programs, SkillsUSA courses, and funding for kindergarten enrichment.
It was not a surprise that homework clubs would be among the first added to tax credit eligible funding.
“We knew that homework clubs would be the first to come forward, because you do have to pay people to be there after school to work with students,” said Diana Asseier, LHUSD superintendent. “They really needed a funding source that could be a little bit larger than what student fundraising efforts could provide and something that is more sustainable.”