School receives record<br>Arizona Tax Credit funds
GC VILLAGE — Grand Canyon School received a record amount of money through the Arizona Tax Credit program to benefit extracurricular activities.
Bonnie Haven, financial assistant, reported to the school board last week that $7,450 had been collected. That’s an increase of $3,170 over last year when the school had its worst-ever year for tax credit donations.
"I think we did a pretty good job on getting the word out," school superintendent Ray Vernon said. "We just talked to people in the community ... I really don’t know what we did that was different (from past years)."
Donations through the tax credit had decreased ever since the first year, so this year’s totals bucked the trend. A small part of the equation could be a higher $250 limit per individual or married taxpayers filing jointly.
Through the four years of the tax credit program, the local school has raised $22,130 for extracurricular activities. Vernon has been working with teachers, such as art instructor Amy McBroom and music director George Haughton, on utilizing the funds.
Tax credit donations for elementary/middle school programs totaled $4,625 this year with the high school being designated $3,575. The biggest beneficiary at the K-8 level was Odyssey of the Mind with $1,250.
"OM was not even a school-sponsored activity until it came to the forefront for making the world finals last year and they were scrounging around for money," Vernon said.
Odyssey of the Mind, a creative problem-solving program for students, was not on the donation form created by the school, but donors specifically singled out the activity to receive money.
"We tell them that if they want it to go to a specific activity or sport, they can indicate that," Vernon said.
At the high-school level, the biggest area drawing funds was athletics with $950. But another specific activity was also singled out. The high school’s environmental club made $750 through the donations.
But both OM and the environmental club will get even more than those specific totals. They will also receive a percentage of the money designated to go to clubs.
There was a minor controversy last fall over middle-school uniforms. Through the tax credit, middle-school sports has been designated to receive $1,050. Vernon said the coaches will likely be brought together to prioritize needs and how money is to be spent.
The creation of extracurricular clubs appears to be the latest trend at the school.
"If you look at the clubs we have, it seems like we’re accumulating more clubs," Vernon said. "The teachers are becoming aware that we can do this. There’s still discussion about extracurricular music clubs ... and an extracurricular basketball club after the season is over."
The school board just last week approved a plan for extracurricular art activities. Instructor Amy McBroom made a proposal to the school board for the establishment of two extracurricular art groups.
Imagination Station is an after-school hands-on activity designed for K-8 students. McBroom said the program would likely run six weeks after allowing time for registration. The activity will have a limit of 35 students. Another group of 35 students could participate in another session in the spring.
The activity would meet once per week on Tuesdays after school.
Projects would include art activities like making lanyard key chains, photo frames, tie-dyed shirts or socks, fish kites, baskets, birdfeeders, aprons, friendship bracelets, rain sticks and puppets. Participants would even be able to enjoy refreshments.
The other activity, Shootin’ Back, Photography for Teens, serves high-school students. There would be a limit of 10 students for the activity based on the number of available cameras and space in the darkroom. There would be two sessions, meeting on Thursdays after school.
Students would go out in pairs, shoot photos in the community, develop the film and make prints. McBroom said the activity would serve as an avenue to express ideas and give experience to those who may want to serve on the yearbook staff. The subject matter — community, people and places — would be about students shooting back, rather than shouting back to the community.
Haven told the school board that there would be sufficient funds to cover the extracurricular art programs for this year. The board approved the program, 4-0.
"The art program Amy presented and the board approved has a lot to do with utilizing this tax money," Vernon said. "Now she can use that."