Wednesday's article on AZCentral details the successes and failures of Arizona's public school tax credit program.
In essence, the program allows Arizona taxpayers to take a bit off their tax bill and direct it at a particular elementary, middle or high school of their choice.
It was passed by the legislature back in 1997 as a way to get approval for a PRIVATE school tax credit. Public school teachers, as you might imagine, hated the idea of private school kids getting the benefit of the tax dollars that were supposed to go to pay for public schools, so adding the public school option helped to get it passed.
You have to pay taxes anyway, right? So why shouldn't you be able to driect your dollars to the schol your kids go to, or your grandkids or neighbros go to?
Simple: The rich schools get the money and the poor schools don't.
The schools that account for most of the "free lunch" takers, you know those? The parents whose kids don't make enough money to pay taxes? They won't pay the tax credit because its EXTRA. It's not fair.
Public schools are SUPPPOSED to be as equal as possible, as much "like each other" as is made possible by the law, society, and the enghborhoods in which they are built. Inequality comes in a lot of forms, from the income and education level of the parents, availability of those parents, and health and well being of the students.
We all know these factors result in higher test scores and college acceptance rates at the wealthier schools. So why is it ok for Catalina Foothills to make $918,827 in 2012, when 58 comparable high schools raised NOTHING?
Look, if you want to donate to your kids school, donate. Give your time, your money, or your car, if you want.
Maybe it's time we scrapped the tax credits for everyone?